A WORCESTERSHIRE artist has made the shortlist of a major competition.

Professional painter Simon Davis, of Offenham, near Evesham, is in the final of the BP Portrait Award 2008, an influential annual contest run by the National Portrait Gallery The 39-year-old, who has worked as an illustrator for the comic 2000 AD, said the portrait of his friend Amanda Smith was influenced by a study by Toulouse-Lautrec.

"It's quite amazing given the number of entries they received,"

said Mr Davis, a member of the Royal Portrait Society and secretary of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

"You can never pre-empt what people are looking for so the best thing is to enter and then forget about it."

Mr Davies described his piece as "serene". He is up against three other artists, all from London. The winner, announced in June, will receive £25,000.