Interview: Artist Sophie Levi

by Cass Art

Artist Sophie Levi’s work is currently on display in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery until 15 September 2013.

As part of our Meet the Artists programme Sophie Levi will be joining us at the Islington and Hampstead stores this August to talk about her art, painting processes, portraits and answer your questions. Be sure to drop by for a chat.

Visit the Islington store at 66-67 Colebrooke Row N1 on on Saturday the 17 August from 10.30am-12pm where Sophie will be joined by fellow BP Portrait Award artist Susanne du Toit. Or visit the Hampstead store at 58-62 Heath Street NW3 on Sunday the 18 August from 11.30am-1pm where she'll be joined by artist Laura Robertson. You can find the full details and schedule for the Meet the Artists programme here.

We caught up with Sophie Levi to ask a few questions and give you a sneak preview of what's in store.

Was there a defining moment when you decided you wanted to be an artist?

After school, university and my first office job, I visited Byam Shaw School of Art (now part of Central St. Martins) where the smell of oil paint made me feel I was finally in the right place.

How has your practice evolved since then and what are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a series of portraits called ‘A Contemporary Look’, two of which are currently on show in the RA Summer Exhibition. I also have an ongoing project painting portraits of the formerly homeless residents of Arlington in Camden. It works well for me to balance the intensity of portraits with the expansiveness of landscape painting and I am currently making a series of large, round paintings of the Regent’s Canal, Camden & Primrose Hill.

Could you tell us about your working method and process?

The portraits are painted in up to three hour sittings. The landscapes are painted in-situ. I try to make my paintings hold together without eliminating inconsistency and change.

What materials do you use?

Oil paint and pencil.

Which colours are essential in your palette?

Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Transparent Oxide Yellow, Transparent Oxide Red, Ultramarine, Burnt Umber.

Overall which product is essential to your practice?

Michael Harding Oil Colours.

Find more of Sophie Levi's work at or

You can follow Sophie on Facebook at

Images top to bottom: Cliff by Sophie Levi, 2012 © Sophie Levi

A Contemporary Look I by Sophie Levi, © Sophie Levi

Regent's Canal Round One by Sophie Levi, © Sophie Levi

A Contemporary Look II by Sophie Levi, © Sophie Levi

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