About Louis

Louis Smith is a classically trained portrait painter now living and working in the heart of Manchester who studied in Florence for three years.

A painter of bespoke portraits he undertakes various commissions ranging from individuals through to families and professionals.
His styles include: themed, formal, informal, highly rendered or loose oil sketches. 
His use of media includes: charcoal, conte, pencil, sanguine and oil paint. 
He leads workshops and art groups .
He has published a number of tutorials on, demonstrating the process of his work. 
The studio is located off the Mancunian Way in Manchester and has a relaxed atmosphere with a comfortable reception area. It’s floor space will easily hold large groups of people for exhibitions and events.
His work has gained status in a number of large, renowned exhibitions, as follows

Manchester Academy of Fine Art, Pimlico Gallery 2016
Sky Arts Landscape Painter of the Year Award 2015
Shortlisted, New Light Art Competition 2015
Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2014
Royal Society of Portrait Painters Competition 2012
2nd place BP Portrait Award 2011
ING Discerning Eye Award 2010
Shortlisted by Threadneedle Prize for painting and sculpture 2009
Royal Society of Portrait Painters Competition 2010
BP Portrait Award 2009


He was born in Manchester England. From an early age Louis had a strong visual interest, finding it more interesting to look at the cover of a book rather than the text inside it. At school he found his main interest was the art classes. Fortunately he had teacher who spotted his artistic abilities and encouraged him to study art full-time.
He took a undergraduate foundation course in Art and Design at Tameside College. The course lasted two years and he specialised in Fine Art Painting for the second year. Once he had completed this programme he went on to study a BA Honours degree in Fine Art Painting at Sheffield University.
At university, he found the experience frustrating, because the skills of drawing and painting were no longer encouraged. His artistic direction was neither accepted or appreciated by the instructors. As a result he had little confidence surviving in the realm of conceptual art.
In 1991 he took a new direction. His desire to learn the skills to make himself a better artist lead him to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art London, studying scene painting and learning the basics of painting backgrounds and props.
After graduating from the academy he felt more confident making a living in an industry that appreciated his skills as a realist painter.
At the beginning of his career he assisted other scenic artists. He was inspired by some very talented people, and strove to rise to their level throughout his career.

In his spare time he created his own paintings and in 2004 showcased his work at the Fresh Art Fair, London. He gained interest from a number of galleries and went on to exhibit at both the Farmelo Gallery and Cork Gallery in London, and at both the Vernon Gallery and Object Art Gallery in Manchester.

In 2004 he studied a part-time teaching course at Central College, Manchester. As part of the course he taught in a centre for people with learning difficulties and also an adult education centre. His original intention was to teach in order to supplement himself as a painter, yet most of the colleges and universities he contacted had little or no life drawing classes; even the art college he first attended had lost its life drawing room.
He was considering his options when he found the Art Renewal Centre online. His imagination was sparked to find such an extensive resource dedicated to the promotion of realistic art. He also found artists painting in the classical style and academies of learning still in existence. It was a world he longed for since he first started to study art.
The ARC convinced him that there is growing interest in this style of art, and he wanted to be part of the resurgence. He decided to stop compromising himself and commit fully to Classical Realism Art and this is when he went on to study in Florence.

Visit his youtube channel for demonstrations of his work.

8 thoughts on “Biography”

  1. Hi Louis — Thank you for the demonstration videos. They are very inspiring and helpful to me. It’s good to see portrait demonstrations by a classically trained artist. I watch a lot of portrait demos on Youtube…..some horrible, some good, a few very good. It makes me appreciate yours all the more. Thank you.

  2. Iwish you every sucess in winning the B P Awards , its a good job you wernt discouraged by your tutors , I can understand your frustration ,as I am mature student in my second year,and things are still the same 20 years later, it gives me great satisfaction on looking at your sucess , congratulations.

  3. I’m bored sick with “the pixel-painters” ie: lifeless offerings of plates of spam – in the tinned meat sense! I hope that you will break the apparent B.P. trend for choosing painters of photographs and inject some blood and guts into the works. After all, I dread to contemplate that this era we work in will be regarded as the “photo-realist era of portraiture”. There are many painters still working traditionally and vibrantly. Good luck my friend.

    1. Hello Jill thanks for the comment. At the begining of photography there was a time when photographers emulated paintings.  Now it is painters that hold photography as king.  I appreciate the the skill of photo realism as an exercise to test an artists ability to record nature.  My only problem is investing all that time in what looks like a candid moment. It’s the reason why realist paintings appear so redundant.  If people complement my work, it’s usauly on the basis of it looking like a photo.  It’s not my aim.  I don’t think it was the aim of most Realistic painters before photography. Their work was more suggestive rather than describing every detail which leaves nothing to the imagination.
      Thanks Louis

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. Just as I suspected! I recently attended a short course with Juan Martinez and Fernando Frietas at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto. Congratulations on your beautiful work and the high standards you’re reintroducing to the UK. I love the confusion Holly is creating among the art critical establishment. . . . “I know I’m not supposed to like it, but. . . .”

  5. You’re a breath of fresh air Louis. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you in the BP. At long last, a Painter has been picked again. All the best!

    1. Hello Jill, there are some very technically brilliant photo realist paintings in the competition. A disaplin I wouldn’t have the patients for. But if your talking about painting In the classical sence then I will take it as a complement thanks Louis

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