An exhibition of staff portrait paintings by Bedales Facilities team member Garath Tulett is currently on display at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, where it is inspiring the pupils’ own portrait work.
Garath, who has worked at Bedales for 20 years, loved art at school and had been offered a place at art school but decided to pursue a career in carpentry.
Earlier this year Garath painted a portrait of his Facilities colleague and friend Kevin Fifield, who sadly passed away in September 2020, and shared it with Dunhurst’s Head of Art and Design, Susan McFarlane. Susan is a portrait artist herself, who has appeared on Sky Arts’ Portrait Artist of the Year, and recognised Garath’s flair for painting portraits.
Over the past year, in his spare time Garath has been practising painting portraits of the rest of the Bedales Facilities and Domestic teams. The portraits impressed Susan, who chose to exhibit them at Dunhurst to share with the pupils and highlight the creativity in the school community.
His portraits have inspired this year’s Block 1 (Year 7) portrait project, for which the pupils will be painting portraits of the Dunhurst teachers.
Susan McFarlane said: “I thought Garath’s portrait of Kevin was terrific, and when he told me he had been practising portrait painting of the rest of the Facilities team, I was keen to see them. The paintings are really strong, both in terms of likeness and in conveying the character of the individuals – for example, Sarah, who worked as a cleaner at Dunhurst for several years, is mid-laughter, which is how I think of her. I’ve really enjoyed seeing pupils’ reactions to seeing portraits of people they know in the school community, and I look forward to seeing how it will inspire my Block 1 students’ portrait project this term.”