Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 news

Get all the information and behind-the-scenes gossip for Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 in our guide to series 8. Read on for all the latest news from our favourite arts show

Portrait Artist of the Year
Photography by Matt Frost © Sky UK Ltd.
Published: October 6, 2022 at 8:00 am
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We can't wait for Sky Portrait Artist of the Year to return to our screens in October. It's the most relaxing TV show ever known to man (it's official) and we're looking forward to two months of glorious time lapse portraiture and creativity. Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 will climax with a show-stopping paint-off between the final 3 artists who made it to the final, with one talented artist winning the £10,000 prize and the opportunity to paint a portrait of national treasure Sir Lenny Henry.


Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year season 9 will hit our screens in October 2022 and it's the comfort Winter TV viewing we all need in our lives. Episode 1 will air here in the UK on 5 October 2022 and we love our weekly dose of watching the skilled amateur artists at work.

Get ready to immerse yourself in the world of gouache, oil painting, etching, sketching, as we recap the weekly highlights from series 9, when a collection of the UK and Ireland's artists have battled it out in the gentlest way possible to win the crown of Portrait Artist of the Year.

This really is a show like no other in that the portraits the artists are all beautiful works in their own right. If watching brushes on canvas doesn’t soothe your soul, nothing will. From the time lapse shots of the portraits coming to life, to the leisurely stroll around each artist as their portrait forms before your eyes, Portrait Artist of the Year is our ultimate Autumn-Winter comfort viewing.

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As the brush strokes and pencil marks come together each week, we'll see the artists' portraits develop layer upon layer of depth throughout the hour's television. You’ll find yourself fighting the urge to run off and sign up instantly for your local college painting course.

This year's competition has been be better than ever and thanks to the pandemic more and more of us across the UK are discovering our love of painting and drawing. If you're looking for more painting and drawing content, we've got guides to watercolour painting for beginners and pencil drawing for beginners to help you get started.

For more creative TV content head to our best craft TV shows, Sky Landscape Artist of the Year or Grayson Perry's Art Club articles.

To celebrate the show's return, we've answered all your burning questions right here.

Images © Sky UK Limited

Portrait Artist of the Year
Photography by Matt Frost © Sky UK Ltd.

When is Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the year on TV?

Portrait Artist of the year returned to Sky Arts on Wednesday nights from Wednesday 5th October 2022 at 8pm.

It is available to watch on Sky Arts and the streaming service NOW. You can watch Sky Arts for free on Freeview channel 11 and Freesat channel 147.

Where can I watch Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year?

You can catch up on the past eight seasons of the show over on Sky Arts. The show was originally Artist of the Year and has branched out with a spin-off series called Landscape Artist of the Year.

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year is shown on Sky TV on channel Sky Arts, Freeview channel 11. This channel was previously known as Artsworld and Sky Arts 1. You can also watch Portrait Artist of the Year on the streaming platform NOW.

Where is Sky Portrait Artist of the Year filmed?

The show is filmed at Battersea Arts Centre, and each series the finals are filmed at the National Portrait Gallery.

National Portrait Gallery

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2022: Welcome to series 9

Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell are back in their quest to find Britain and Ireland's best portrait artists. They're joined by returning judges: artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan.

The show covers lots of different techniques, mediums and subjects every week, with each contestant taking a different approach to the challenges.

It never fails to fascinate me how one subject (or celebrity sitter in this case) can be interpreted in so many different ways, yet this series of Portrait Artist of Year doesn’t disappoint as our brilliant artists once again produce some incredible portraits. I’m just glad I’m not one of the judges!
Joan Bakewell

Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 includes several rounds of painting competitions, where artists are challenged to paint portraits of famous sitters. The artists are given four hours to create a portrait that captures the essence of their celebrity subject. Each week one winning artist (chosen by the judges) will go through the semi finals, in a bid to get through to the final, which will be filmed at the National Portrait Gallery.

This year, the artists are competing for the prize of a £10,000 commission to paint the well-known actor and comedian Lenny Henry. Their work will then be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery.

Having the opportunity to watch such skilled artists at work as they paint our wonderful (and incredibly patient!) celebrity sitters is always a pleasure and this series is no different... we’ve got such a fantastic mix of familiar faces all taking the hot seat in front of the easel, with each resulting portrait so varied and unique. Viewers are in for a treat!
Stephen Mangan

Meet The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 contestants and sitters

Caution: this section includes spoilers

A mixture of the UK's top amateur and professional painters have been chosen, and we'll meet a fresh batch of new faces each week. With a mega prize and one well worth competing for, we're already blown away by the talent, skill and flair that the contestants in the first few weeks have shown on screen. Those self portraits! The skill and detail and flair for colour and composition!

This series will feature celebrity sitters from the worlds of stage, screen, sport, literature, and politics including Lulu, Big Zuu, Nick Grimshaw, Bruno Tonioli and many more.

The artists will battle it out to impress expert judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano and Kate Bryan in seven heats. Each heat winner will go on to paint acclaimed singer, Rebecca Ferguson in the semi-final and the three finalists will battle it out to take home the title, painting public health expert and former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, best known for leading the UK's response to the Covid pandemic.

Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 sitters

Here is the full list of famous faces who will be sitting for the artists this series:

  • Lulu (singer)
  • Big Zuu (television personality)
  • Bruno Tonioli (TV personality/choreographer)
  • Nick Grimshaw (broadcaster)
  • Miquita Oliver (presenter)
  • Dame Stella Rimington (former Director General of MI5)
  • Suggs (singer)
  • Elizabeth Day (author)
  • Jim Carter (actor)
  • Alex Brooker (journalist/TV presenter)
  • Eve Muirhead (Winter Olympian)
  • Phil Manzanera (musician)
  • Khadija Mellah (jockey)
  • YolanDa Brown (saxophonist)
  • Helen Sharman (first British woman in space)
  • Alexis French (musician)
  • Henning Wehn (comedian)
  • Lemar (singer/songwriter)
  • Candice Carty-Williams (writer)
  • Benjamin Zephaniah (writer/poet)
  • Ellie Simmonds (Paralympian)
  • Rebecca Ferguson (singer)
  • Sir Jonathan Van-Tam (former Deputy Chief Medical Officer)

The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2022 Episode Recaps

This article includes a weekly update on each episode, which we will review as they air. We'll share our favourite piece of artwork, favourite lines from the episodes and add a short summary so you can recap the show's best bits this year.

Episode one

We're off! A new batch of contestants arrived to take part in the first heat of our favourite art show. As usual, the artists came from a range of backgrounds and each brought their own unique style to their work.

This week, the artists were asked to to create portraits of podcaster and author Elizabeth Day, broadcaster Nick Grimshaw and jockey Khadija Mellah.

Highlights: Nick Grimshaw wanted his portrait to include his beloved dog called Stinky Blob. The adorable Stinky didn't have the patience to sit still for four hours and ended up roaming around the room!

There was also an appearance from a familiar face: Morag Caister who made it to the semi-finals in 2020.

Lowlights: Steve Bennett decided to create his portrait of Elizabeth Day using a drypoint etching printing technique. Unfortunately, his nerves got the better of him and he ended up drawing his portrait the wrong way round for the printing process! Luckily there was plenty of time to fix his mistake.

Who won Sky Portrait Artist of the Year in 2021?

23-year-old Calum Stevenson scooped this year's prize with his beautiful portrait of Barry Humphries in the final. In earlier rounds he wowed the judges with his realistic portraits of Kelly Macdonald and Pink Floyd's Nick Mason. His painting of Nicola Benedetti will be displayed at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Portrait Artist Of The Year
2021 winner Calum Stevenson's beautiful style of painting portraits has been mesmerising to watch, as he creates his portraits from the eyes outward, building realistic and intimate detail through his paintwork, alongside striking compositions.

Get ready for Portrait Artist of the Year 2022

We're looking forward to seeing the work created by the contestants on this year's show – and who will win the coveted title of Sky Portrait Artist of the Year. Each week the contestants will push their artistic skills to the limit and produce a stunning likeness of a celebrity.

The artists will compete in seven heats with the winner of each heat getting the opportunity to create a portrait of the singer Rebecca Ferguson in the semi-final. The three finalists will get the chance to produce a portrait of former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, who appeared regularly on our screens throughout the pandemic.

The ultimate winner of Sky Portrait Artist of the Year will earn a £10,000 commission to make a portrait of Sir Lenny Henry for the National Portrait Gallery.

For more updates about the latest series, head to the show's official website: or search on social for the hashtags #portraitartistoftheyear and #PAOTY


How to become an incredible portrait artist

If you're feeling inspired by the latest series of Portrait Artist of the Year, painting a watercolour portrait can be a good place to begin. It'll help you to get to grips with the basic skills that you'll need to create your own stunning portraits. You'll also develop your watercolour painting skills with the expert guidance of artist and illustrator Rhiannon Bull. Learn how to paint a watercolor portrait.


Phoebe Burt
Phoebe BurtSEO and Communities Editor, Gathered

Phoebe has worked for Gathered, and our sister magazine Mollie Makes, for 3 years. She manages our Arts & Crafts section and specialises in social media and content strategy. She has a background in all things marketing, a flair for Pinterest and a knack for finding the next big craft trend. Previously she worked as Digital Campaign Executive for Fat Media. You may recognise her name from Mollie Makes Social Media magazine, where she shared her expertise and top tips on becoming social media savvy.

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