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Whitstable artist can stand heat in chef Gordon Ramsay's kitchen

By Whitstable Times  |  Posted: November 21, 2012

  • Whitstable artist Charlotte Baynes with Gordon Ramsay in his kitchen

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FOUL-MOUTHED chef Gordon Ramsay was as nice as pie when Whitstable artist Charlotte Baynes paid a visit to his kitchen.

Charlotte said: "He was very professional, patient and kind to me. And he never swore once."

Charlotte, of Fitzroy Road, Tankerton, wrote to Mr Ramsay asking if she could paint him because she thought he had a fascinating face. She spent several hours at the celebrity's London home as his wife Tanya took photos on her mobile phone.

Charlotte has included a ghostly Tanya in the portrait, which was short-listed for a BP Portrait Award.

Charlotte admitted: "I don't think it is one of my best portraits. But I wrote to him because he has an interesting face – and I am inspired by faces."

She added: "I know he is infamous for swearing in the kitchens on TV, but he sat for a couple of hours for me and never swore once. Some of the time he was also being interviewed."

Charlotte is staging a week-long solo exhibition at Whitstable's Horsebridge Centre, from Wednesday, November 21.

Her subjects will include Mr Ramsay, flamenco dancers, friends, family and "local heroes" including a portrait of abstract artist John Hoyland, whose work hangs in the Tate.

He was part of the 1960s and 70s art scene, mixing with Mark Rothko and Patrick Caulfield.

Charlotte said: "I met him while hanging pictures in a London gallery and we became friends.

"I asked him when someone had last painted him, and he said at least 50 years ago.

"This might be the only portrait of him around."

She recalled: "His studio was a carpet of paint.

"He said he never used an easel, so I had to improvise with a ladder."

It can take anything from from 90 minutes to three months for Charlotte to produce a portrait.

She said: "My paintings are about the response I have from the sitter. I am excited by looking into their faces."

She added: "Painting can be solitary, but what's most important in life is building relationships. Art offers opportunities to do this."

Charlotte, a former lecturer in early childhood development at Thanet and Canterbury Colleges, has also run creative workshops for the English National Opera and studied at Goldsmiths, London.

She admires artist David Hockney and become a professional painter 14 years ago, but also teaches her hobby, flamenco, two hours a week.

She has also started a singing group called the Shed Singers, which sings Spanish songs in her studio at the bottom of her garden.

Charlotte Baynes at the Horsebridge Centre, November 21-27 in the Somerset Maugham Gallery. See also www.charlottebaynes.com

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