ART'S HER TERRITORY
The winner of this year's Bermuda Society of Arts (BSoA) Bursary Award calls art "her territory".
Samantha Gosling, 21, was the recipient of the 2010 $5,000 BSoA bursary award made annually to Bermudian students interested in furthering their post-secondary education in fine arts and/or design.
Miss Gosling is about to enter her senior year at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island.
She is working towards a bachelor of fine arts degree with a major in illustration and painting.
"I have been really into art my whole life," said Miss Gosling. "Art class was my territory.
"It was where I knew what I was doing. Other students in art class would ask me for help. It was where I felt I could just do it."
She said her parents, Beth and Gregory Gosling, were always very encouraging.
"They would always show my artwork off and make me enter competitions," she said. "I didn't mind it. I liked doing it."
She attended the Bermuda High School for Girls (BHS). In year ten when she received top marks, an A star, in her General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) art exam.
She went on to finish high school at Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, where she was awarded the senior year painting prize.
It was at Williston Northampton that she realised that art was something she wanted to do as a career.
"I don't know if I would have even looked at RISD if I hadn't been there," she said. "That school is where I realised that art school was something that I wanted to pursue.
"That is where I started experimenting with pastels and portraits."
After her first year in college she decided to set herself up as a portrait artist for the summer, doing pastel portraits for commission. She completed 16 portraits, mainly of children.
This summer she is doing commissioned portraits again, but has turned more towards oil as her medium.
"Oil is better quality and lasts longer and that would be more expensive," she said of the switch.
She said the portraits can take anywhere from a week onwards to complete. "Sometimes it would take me a day or two days, and other times it takes longer," she said. To paint someone's portrait she takes photographs, and spends time observing her subject.
"I have been photographing people but also sitting with them so I can get a sense of their space," she said. Miss Gosling said this helps to take away from the flatness that some painters experience when they paint from a photograph.
"The camera does all the work for you so it eliminates all these things you would see in person, so ultimately you get a flatter image," she said. "But when you get a sense of the person's space through preliminary sketches and so forth, that helps to eliminate that."
Miss Gosling is also currently working on pieces for her first art exhibition planned for the near future.
Leslie Rego, assistant gallery director of the BSOA said they had been particularly impressed by Miss Gosling's ability to capture people.
"She has had a great start as a commissioned portrait artist," said Ms Rego.
Miss Gosling has used her talent to raise more than $7,000 for charity, through what she calls 'promise portraits'.
She came up with the idea of promise portraits for local charities when she was asked by BHS to contribute a piece of art for their first annual art auction.
Instead, Miss Gosling displayed her portfolio and offered to do the portrait of the highest bidder. She was both surprised and delighted to learn that her offer went for $1,500.
A similar request from the Masterworks Foundation led to her promise of a portrait going for $2,300.
She went on to do another charity pastel portrait of a Ugandan grandmother, at the invitation of African Baobab, a US charity group which assists 25 Ugandan grandmothers who have adopted Aids orphans.
In total she raised more than $7,000 for charity in that way.
Miss Gosling has won a number of other awards in her school career including the 2009 Butterfield Bank Visual Art Award for Fine Art and also the 2009 and 2010 Peter Leitner Art Scholarship for Fine Art.