Meet the artist - aged 14 - who created this incredible portrait in just 20 hours

  • Swansea Correspondent Dean Thomas-Welch meets talented young artist Makenzy Beard

A Swansea teenager who took up painting as a hobby in lockdown will have her work shown at a prestigious exhibition after wowing judges.

Makenzy Beard, 14, only began putting paint to paper since the beginning of lockdown but created the incredible portrait of a neighbour in just 20 hours.

The Bishopston Comprehensive School pupil "captured the essence" of a local farmer who lives in her village and sometimes helps out her parents by cutting the grass.

Talented Makenzy with her work in progress

She told ITV Wales: "He's got a really wonderful demeanour, really kind, really considerate, a really polite person. I just think he's really natural the way he goes about his business every day."

The subject of her work, John Tucker, had an amusing reaction to learning he'd captured in paint.

"Apparently the first thing he said was 'Oh, I look scruffy!' Makenzy said.

"That was quite funny - the fact that he wished he'd shaved and put on a cleaner shirt.

"He really, really loved it and his wife especially loved it."

The talented teen said she's always enjoyed creative things but only started producing art about a year ago and has had no formal training.

She said: "I'm really busy with sport and always keep my school work first. So I would do like five minutes before school and then an hour afterwards so I completed it piece by piece over a three-week span - probably 20 hours work in total.

"My mum used to paint so she had some paintbrushes and paint in the shed and I do art lessons in school and they're really great. But I haven't done any courses or anything - I just started painting!"

Now Makenzy's work will be publicly displayed at the Royal Academy in London.

"I was really, really happy," she said.

"I don't do my art for any competitions - that was never the intention - but it was such a nice thing that someone else and other artists appreciated my work the same way that my family does.

"I really would like to carry on paining - I really enjoy it. It's more one of those things that I do for pleasure - but I'd definitely like to carry on."

The Royal Academy of Arts in London Credit: PA

The Royal Academy's Young Artists’ Summer Show is in its third year and is a free, open submission exhibition for students aged 5 - 19 studying in the UK and British schools overseas.

Artworks are judged by artists and arts professionals with selected artworks displayed online and on-site at the Royal Academy of Arts.

From July 13, Makenzy's work will be seen at the 2021 online exhibition, and in the London gallery on display until August 8.

Charlotte Lewis, Head of Art at Bishopston, is "absolutely thrilled" for Makenzy, who's received a wave of praise after her work was shared on the school's social media.

"It's the kind of piece that you can appreciated from two levels," she said.

"Obviously you look at her ability to capture light and tone and texture and form and all the formal elements, but it's not that that gets you in the end. It's more the atmosphere created and the moment - whatever he's thinking or doing or working on - you kind of get sucked into the painting.

"It becomes far more than the technical ability but that ability to really capture that essence."

Ms Lewis is relieved the talented pupil is continuing art at school and will take it at GCSE level.

She added: "She will go on and achieve and it's lovely that, even at this stage, she's got such a skill under her belt but she's still not satisfied - she often has conversations with me about style and skill and moving her work on."