TWO stunning paintings created by Ripon Grammar School A-level art students are to hang in a prestigious London exhibition, alongside the work of professional artists.

Emma Money’s vibrant portrait, Soulful, and Robbie Haynes’s emotive painting of Rain Over Redcar impressed judges seeking talented young artists from throughout the UK to showcase at the Royal Society of British Artists annual spring exhibition at the Mall Galleries.

Robbie, who left RGS in July and is now studying chemistry at the University of York, says he developed a deep appreciation for art after studying it as a contrast to his other science-based A-levels: “Art served as a creative and emotional outlet, which helped counteract the stress and general overwhelming nature of A-levels,” he explained.

The 18-year-old from Burton Leonard, was shocked to hear his work had been selected: “I wasn’t aware I had been entered. It was a nice surprise. The piece itself is supposed to feel a little sad and sombre, I have always believed there’s a sort of beauty in sadness.”

Emma, who also left RGS in July, is now studying fashion design at the University of Salford. She said she was overjoyed when she found out her work had been picked: “I have always had a passion for painting.”

The 18-year-old, from South Stainley, explained how she was exploring painting techniques in her A-level portrait, working towards a final artwork analysing the differences between generations. Although she hopes to be a fashion designer eventually, she is currently working on portrait commissions.

The two Ripon students’ stunning A-level creations were spotted by Hambleton Arts Society members who submitted them for selection and both were among just 20 paintings picked from a shortlist of more than 200 outstanding works.

Judges described the final selection as ‘exceptional works combining highest levels of skill, expression and draughtsmanship’ with the standard of entries particularly high this year’.

The works will be displayed at the Mall Galleries,  February 18 to March 1, and at the ROSL from March 5 to April 19 .

*Royal Over-Seas league St James St London www.rosl.org.uk

Mall Galleries, The Mall, London www.mallgalleries.org.uk