ARTIST Duncan Shoosmith is celebrating after reaching the finals of TV's Portrait Artist of the Year programme.

Mr Shoosmith, 49, from Marlborough was seen on television on Sky Arts on Tuesday evening in the semi finals of the contest. All nine winners from the heats had to painting British Jazz legend Courtney Pine.

Mr Shoosmith, who is a former pupil of Marlborough College, said: "I was thrilled to reach the semi-finals but assumed that that was a far as I would go in the competition having said that, I found the added pressure really focused my mind. I wanted to achieve more of a likeness than I had in the heat, so just took a little more time than I normally do in the early stages.

"The brief was to reflect a musical link to the sitter. I focused on Courtney, after all this was a portrait of him, not his sax and included the neck and section of the sax that fell within my composition and was helped out by the fact that towering over him was an enormous church organ the line of pipes just seemed too good to ignore.

"On the day there were timing issues which meant that we took lunch early, before starting our paintings most people didn’t then leave their easels till the four hours was up, such was the pressure in the room no breaks, no sustenance at the end I was completely shot."

Nearly two thousand artists from the UK entered the competition and seventy two were chosen to compete in this year’s show. The final will be shown on Tuesday.