Alice Beaven captures fleeting childhood on canvas

Lauderdale House plays host to the artist’s exhibition

It was the gift of a box of paints from her late father that prompted Alice Beaven to take up art again.

Although she originally trained as an illustrator at Central St Martins, the birth of children Harry and Elsie had diverted Beaven’s attention away from painting.

But the bequest prompted the Muswell Hill mum to pick up her brushes, in the hope of capturing her growing children on canvas.

Now she paints most evenings when the children are in bed, and is displaying her work at Lauderdale House, Highgate.

“I have always been a painter at heart but what triggered me to start in earnest was when my father died and left me his paints. He had gone to the Slade and used to have his own exhibitions. They sat there looking at me and I felt really bad until I decided, ‘I am going to use them.’

“Around that time, I realised my children were growing up fast and I wanted to capture them before it was too late. I have always found my children very interesting and really studying a face you know so well is a very fulfilling process.”

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Beaven, who works by day as a graphic designer, has previously published a book of cartoons based on her children titled The Complete Guide To Uninvited Advice On Raising Children (Hodder and Stoughton)

She has also painted the children of her closest friends as gifts, but is now taking outside commissions in the hope of turning her artwork into a day job.

“It’s really important that you understand the character of the child. I work from photographs which I take myself. You try to capture a moment when the child is relaxed and forgets the camera is there so the pictures don’t feel staged.”

Alice Beaven’s exhibition runs at Lauderdale House until July 22.

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