The first public exhibition of Darren Baker’s official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II will open today at his eponymous Charlotte Street gallery.
The painting was first unveiled in 2011 having been commissioned to mark the Royal British Legion’s 90th year and the 85th birthday of its patron, the Queen. The portrait has since been on display at the headquarters of the Legion.
Baker, 39, is a graduate of Bradford Art College, and has painted prime ministers, royalty and the sporting elite.
He paints with a hyper-realistic technique to produce photographic like images.
“I sand down my canvas to an almost mirror like surface, to ensure the smooth application of paint. After outlining a highly detailed architectural drawing, I work on the underpainting in tones of sepia oil paint which I brush, rag on and airbrush,” he says.
“Then I apply the oils using a fine technique of glazing using thinned out paint in many layers according to a technique of Vermeer’s. I use a substance called liquin to glaze the oil paint in acute fine layers, which renders paint strokes almost invisible.”
His gallery opened in 2014 and serves as a creative platform for both established and emerging young artists working across a wide range of media. Baker’s work is shown alongside that of other artists. The gallery maintains a busy exhibition calendar, which includes shows developed in collaboration with charitable organisations such as The Prince’s Trust and Cancer Research UK.
Her Majesty the Queen, Darren Baker Gallery, 81 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 4PP, 28 September to 17 October 2015.