Picture Perfect – How we mixed art and business to celebrate our 150th anniversary

Captured on canvas by an award-winning artist, the pioneering Face Forward project portrays family business leaders as never before in a work of celebration.

Professional artist Helen Perkins launched the project last December in association with CN Group's in-cumbria business magazine and Armstrong Watson, the leading independent financial and business advisory company in the north of England and Scotland.

Since then she has painted portraits telling the stories of 10 business leaders – valued clients of Armstrong Watson – who are grounded in Cumbria's thriving family businesses both large and small.

Through her deep insight and art skills Helen has been able to get behind the faces of family businesses and share their stories to highlight the valuable contribution made by these family companies.

The finished work was unveiled to the public at The Halston in Warwick Road, Carlisle when 200 people joined representatives of Armstrong Watson for an evening to mark its 150 years in business.

The portraits have also been featured in a monthly family business section, in association with Armstrong Watson, in CN Group’s in-Cumbria business magazine.

Among those featured are Diana Matthews, chairman of Rayrigg Estates property company in Windermere whose company builds and lets houses for rent to local people

Mike Lee of Palace Cycles of Carlisle also sat for Helen and praised both her ability to put him at ease and Armstrong Watson's support through his company's 70-year history.

Also hanging on the wall is a portrait of well-known businessman David Hayton whose auto trader business in Penrith is a true Cumbrian success story which started off as a husband-and-wife partnership and now employs 130 staff.

Judy Bell, founder of Shepherd's Purse Cheeses, was another business leader captured on canvas by London-based Helen as was Beryl Gatenby of Simpson (York) Holdings.

The project was launched to celebrate the vital role family businesses play in the economy of the region providing many thousands of jobs and ground-breaking innovation. These are the companies with the drive to succeed through generations.

Derby-born Helen Perkins, who began drawing and painting as a child, worked as a journalist in Kendal where she developed her love of art observing Royal Portrait Society painters before studying at the London Atelier of Representational Art before taking up art full-time.

Her portrait work has been selected for exhibition by the Royal British Artists and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, as well as long-listed for the BP Portrait Awards, 2016.

For more information about Helen Perkins’ portrait work go to www.helenperkins.co.uk.

Article written by Incumbria.

You can view the final 10 commissioned portraits painted by Helen, below.

View the portraits

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