Stars go on canvas for the launch of Bucks Open Studios

Five familiar faces were put in the frame in Milton Keynes today, at a launch event for Bucks Open Studios, writes Sammy Jones.
Actor and singer Gary Wilmot was joined by dancer Flavia Cacace-Mistry, cartoonist Rupert Fawcett and actors Clive Mantle and Michael Praed for Brush: With Fame.
They sat for four hours in Middleton Hall at centre:mk while clever creatives got busy with their brushes, capturing the celebrities on canvas.
And the public was invited along to see the artists at work.
Brush: With Fame was the idea of Bucks Open Studios chair - and former West End star - Susannah Fellows: "We were trying to think of an idea that would publicise the event afresh, and maybe give it a new launch," she said.
"Bucks Open Studios is about painting, ceramics, glass, jewellery, woodwork, metalwork, all kind of medium.  Today's event is based on the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year idea.  
"The response?  It has been fabulous, lots of people have been making enquiries about it."
Speaking after the session had expired, Gary said the length of time seated was nothing out of the ordinary.
"I do that pretty much every day.  You've only got to get on a national rail train and you'll be sitting in the chair for four hours!
"They were terrific my bunch and I liked them very much.  
"But it makes you realise what it's like being a gorilla in a zoo, sitting there and having all these people filing past.  It was a great experiment and I loved it."
Gary is currently rehearsing for the role of Badger in Wind in the Willows, which opens at the London Palladium shortly: "It's going to be terrific and worth checking out," he promised.
"The script is by Julian Fellows, music is Stiles and Drewe, it's directed by Rachael Kavanaugh...and I'm in it.  Doesn't get much better!" he smiled.
"My feet were fidgeting, I'm a complete fidget," Flavia said, as she stepped down from her chair.
"Even if I'm watching TV I don't think I sit still for four hours.  I was trying to focus in one direction, but it was quite tricky.
"I've had oil paintings and water colours done from dance photos, but I've never had a sit down portrait before."
Flavia fans won't have so long to wait to see her in the new city again  - she will be starring with long-term dance partner Vincent Simone in Tango Moderno this November.
Bucks Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in Buckinghamshire, running June 10-25, with 500 artists participating.
If you think art isn't for you, think again, says Susannah: "Getting your hands all mucky while you are learning to throw a pot on a wheel in clay is fun. 
"All different ages can participate and you don't have to be good at it.  It should just be enjoyable and you can like what you like.  
"If it makes you feel happy or it makes you feel something then it's a successful piece..."
To find out more about Bucks Open Studios click here