Having attended many a FoS and Revival, there’s every chance that Anna-Louise Felstead is someone that Goodwood visitors might recognise; most likely you’ll have spotted her sitting quietly on a chair somewhere, surrounded by inks, brushes and paper and painting all manner of cars, planes, bikes, people and the ambience in general.
‘I have to work fast when I’m painting a car, though’, Anna-Louise tells us. ‘Bonnets are always being opened, wheels removed, cars moved and so on… It’s a really active environment, but it brings an energy to my work that you wouldn’t get painting from a photo.’
Anna-Louise, who studied at St Martin’s College of Art and later the Royal College of Art now paints at events all over the world – most of them motoring-themed – although initially cars weren’t her main focus. Inspired by Falklands war artist Linda Kitson she joined HMS Cornwall at sea and painted a variety of machinery before deciding that it would be somewhat easier to paint cars instead. ‘I went to paint at the Monaco Historique in 2008 and it was a success. Then I went to Monza and it just went from there! It quickly became very interesting, not just painting the cars, but having the mechanics come over and tell me all about the cars’ history.’
Not content with painting cars, she’s turned her hand to driving them competitively, too, having competed in the Historic Monte Carlo Rally twice, once on the Tour Auto and raced at Silverstone and Monza in Alfa Romeos. ‘I love Alfas. They’re such beautiful things’, she says of her efforts in motorsport.
We’re fans of her colourful and lively style, but there’s a chance that her success with brushes could, ironically, lead to a bit of a career change. After painting Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in 2012 she was invited to try her hand as a TV presenter/interviewer, and was flown out to Singapore recently to perform in front of the cameras for the first time at the Grand Prix. ‘I’d love to do more’ she admits,’although it is very stressful and does take up a lot of time.’
As for the immediate future, this New York-based British artist with a possible F1-presenting career (who also, it should be mentioned, was taken for a flight in a Harrier after painting one… and did so without succumbing to the typical tummy malaise suffered by so many others taken up in the iconic jet) is concentrating on painting. ‘I’ll be at Retromobile in early February and probably at Goodwood at some point, too.’ Whether she”ll be painting here or racing at either the 73rd Members’ Meeting or the Revival remains to be seen!