Actor praises pupil’s painting

Steven Rae with his painting and the card from Sir Ian McKellen
Steven Rae with his painting and the card from Sir Ian McKellen

A Peterhead Academy pupil was delighted to receive handwritten praise from actor Sir Ian McKellen after a photo of his painting was posted online.

Steven Rae (18) painted the portrait of Sir Ian McKellen in just three weeks back in October in time for the school’s Art Exhibition.

Steven's latest painting that he will enter into the Scottish Portrait Awards

Steven's latest painting that he will enter into the Scottish Portrait Awards

The 6th year’s painting caught the attention of teacher Irene Adam who contacted the actor’s agent in the hope that he would see it.

Steven said: “I received the card in the last week of term before Christmas and it was unreal.

“I knew Mrs Adam had contacted Sir Ian’s agent but she kept it all quiet and only gave me small updates.

“I was walking round the corridor one day and she told me she had something very special to give me - it was an envelope and inside was the card from Sir Ian.

“That was such a good day.”

Sir Ian wrote: “Even online your portrait is very impressive. I hope you continue to enjoy painting and that your work thrives.”

Steven first discovered he had an interest in art back when he was in primary 7.

He watched a YouTube step-by-step tutorial on how to draw an eye and continued to develop his art skills by completing small drawings.

His talent continued to grow after he picked up art in 3rd year.

Steven was influenced by the art work of older pupils and he had lots of help from his teacher Jean-Pierre Lapeyre.

Explaining why he chose to paint Sir Ian, Steven said: “I choose celebrities that I know and by the work that they have been in.

“Sir Ian has a big social influence and lots of people look up to him, he has also done lots of charity work and is very inspiring.”

The photo of Steven, his painting and card from Sir Ian McKellen was posted on the Artventure Facebook page and received comments from as far away as New York.

Steven said: “It’s really hard to get recognition in a small town like Peterhead but I’m glad a lot of people saw it.”

Mr Lapeyre said: “I’m glad Steven is getting the recognition he deserves and support from the community.

“I just hope he can keep the courage to keep going with his art after he leaves academy.”

Steven is currently preparing for his exams and hopes to go to Dundee to study Architecture.

He is also working on a new painting that he will enter into the Scottish Portrait Awards.