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Ali Cockrean, Jubilee Pageant Artist Saves Historic ‘Lost’ Painting with Atelier Interactive

ALI Cockrean, one of just 20 artists exclusively commissioned to paint the Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant live on TV, has managed to save her painting of the historic event after it was destroyed by rain.

The Buckinghamshire based expressionist painter worked against the clock to have a finished painting of the pageant by the end of BBC1’s live coverage of the event last Sunday – only to have all her efforts washed away by the elements. She says"I hadn’t noticed how heavy the rain was now falling until I returned to my easel. There were rivulets of water creating their own tiny but destructive course through the paint. I saw the images blur and simply wash away.

But all was not lost. Ali returned to her Haddenham studio where she spent three days painstakingly working to restore her precious painting.Ali says: “After the pageant I worked on the painting for two or three hours at a time in the warmth of my studio. I took a photo of what it had looked like before the rain and first of all spent time getting it back to that stage. Then I carried on and added the boats and royal barge. I felt it was important to get it technically right.”

She says: “Unlike most acrylics which can only be over painted once dry, the advantage of Atelier is that it allows you to unlock dry paint using a special medium. This meant I could reblend and rework part of the original painting rather than starting from scratch.”Ali continues: “I’m very pleased with the result. It is now the image I wanted to create during the event. I’ve even managed to paint the Queen in the scene.”

Ali was exclusively commissioned by the BBC to paint the pageant from London’s Millennium Bridge as part of the corporation’s live coverage of the event on Sunday June 3.Ali used Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics to create her 20 x 16 ins painting on canvas, and if it wasn’t for this particular paint, and the use of Unlocking Formula, her work could not have been resurrected.

I succeeded in preparing my painting for the arrival of the boats, despite the light rain keeping the paint wet longer than I wanted. I simply adapted my technique with the palette knife to ensure I didn’t over blend the colours – Chroma Atelier Interactive Acrylics. I worked with a subtle palette to reflect the soft greys and pinks in the sky, the lightest greens and browns in the water. All was progressing well, I was happy with the direction the painting was going and the mood and atmosphere the piece was taking on.

Then the royal barge came into view. The bells of St Paul’s began to chime and she laid down her paint brush. Suddenly the day wasn’t just about capturing an image or being on TV. It was about savouring a truly unique and historically significant moment in time. It was about simply being there. Like millions of people around the banks of the Thames Ali waved and cheered so that in some small way she could demonstrate her appreciation and respect for the Queen.

As a professional associate member of the Society for All Artists, Ali beat thousands of other artists from across the UK for the once in a lifetime opportunity to paint her interpretation of what is arguably the greatest spectacle ever seen on the river.

A3 [30.5x41cms] size Giclee prints of Ali’s finished work – the first 500 of which will be signed by the artist - are now available costing £75 each plus p&p.To order visit

or email

Ali’s Haddenham studio will be open to the public during weekends from June 9 to June 24 as part of Bucks Open Studios.

Ali was born in 1962 and is a professional expressionist painter. Based in her studio in Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, she now exclusively works in acrylic on canvas but has also worked with oils, pastels and charcoal. Ali gave up her career in business and marketing to concentrate on her art full-time in 2006. A member of the prestigious National Acrylic Painters’ Association (NAPA), she studied at the Central St Martins College of Art and Design and Slade School of Fine Art. Her work has appeared in collections throughout Europe, the USA and Canada. Ali also juggles her work with her role as a busy single mum-of-one, tutoring adults and children, giving lectures and writing for national art publications.
For further information and ‘before’ and ‘after’ images please contact Ali Cockrean:

T. +44 (0) 1844 299083
M. + 44 (0) 7742 888302