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When I was about twelve years old, I was travelling on a train. Looking around the carriage, I was transfixed by a girl about five years older than me who had a fascinating face.

It was long and oval with a pointy chin. And her eyes were dark and mesmerising. I couldn’t look away as I painted all the lines in my mind, and noted the shades and contours.

She sensed me looking at her. ‘What are you looking at?’ she said as if she was about to punch me.

I quickly looked down and tried not to look at anyone else again for that journey.

But to this day, I still stare at interesting faces or anything that I find fascinating. I can’t help myself. It can be a building, a person walking, a hole in the ground.

I’m more discreet now, of course, if I’m looking at a person. And if anyone notices, I simply say, ‘I’m an artist, and I was painting you in my mind.’

And then they understand.

Jaq Grantford is an ARC Associate Living Artist (Arc Renewal Centre) based in Australia and specialises in fine art and portraiture. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, winning many awards, most recently winning Kennedy Art Prize.

Her work is held in the MEAM Musem (European Museum of Modern art), the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and many other collections.
She has had a love of art for all her life and a particular fascination with portraits and personalities.
(She also loves cats.)

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