Shelly’s a work of art

Blackpool paralympian heroine Shelly Woods poses for artists at the National Portrait Gallery
Blackpool paralympian heroine Shelly Woods poses for artists at the National Portrait Gallery
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SHE is more used to moving at speed, but wheelchair racer Shelly Woods had to stay still for a change when she became a model for the day for young would-be artists at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The 25-year-old Paralympian from Blackpool was invited to pose as part of a scheme inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The BP Portrait Award: Next Generation scheme is aimed at encouraging young artists of the future.

Shelly said: “There were about 15 young artists there who had been given the chance to do a live drawing.

“I had to do different poses of 10 minutes at a time and then be still for them for 30 minutes.

“It’s something I had never done before and being still was the hardest part. It was really cool to see the drawings they had done.

“They will then work those up into paintings, so it will be interesting to see what these end up like!

“They are all very talented and I can’t draw to save my life, so they have inspired me.

“I also gave them a 20 minute talk about what it’s like for me being an athlete, and related that to what they are doing.”

The event was a chance for Shelly to take a break from training for London 2012.

She won a 1500m silver, 5000m bronze and just missed out on a medal in the marathon at the Beijing Paralympics.

Her next major event is the world championships in Korea which she is hoping to bring a winner’s medal home from.

The BP Portrait Award: Next Generation is a three-year project for 14 to 19-year-olds to get experience of portrait painting.

From first time gallery visitors to those who want to make art their career, the aim is to connect them with other like-minded people.