A WEE COUNTY artist has said it was an honour to be asked to paint an Alloa Athletic footballer.

Clacks artist Karen Strang was asked by the club to paint a portrait of Kevin Cawley, to commemorate his most recent milestone for the club.

No one has played more games for Alloa than Kevin, who surpassed the record this past season. To mark his feat, a portrait was commissioned by the club and Karen created it.

The artist said she was very pleased to be asked to paint Kevin, and was thrilled to take on a new challenge.

"It was real challenge because I've never done anything like that before," she said. "This is [my] first athlete and I love taking on a new challenge.

"People who come to the studio usually aren't moving around so it was an absolute honour to do something like that because although I live in Stirling, I grew up in Clackmannanshire and I always had strong associations with Alloa and the town so it's great to do something for somebody's achievement locally and I think it's so important to support local teams.

"With lockdown, I couldn't actually access my studio for four months so it was great to come back and have this new project on the go because it got me kick-started back into working and connecting with the community again.

"I'm a fully-trained artist but artists are always learning. Trying to capture a moment of movement is a very, very tricky thing to try and do. I don't want it to look like a photograph, I want it to look like a painting. It was a good learning curve."

Kevin was presented with the portrait before the club's last game of the season against Dunfermline Athletic.

Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 restrictions, Karen was not able to be there for the presentation.

She continued: "Photography's great, but painting – there's paintings from the 17th century that you can see to this day – and paintings are great to offer a way of looking at how life was."

Kevin, who signed for the club in 2011, had no idea the club had commissioned the portrait and didn't know it was created by a local artist.

He said: "It's a cracking picture, I must say. It was a nice touch from the club, the chairman and the board.

"I've had a few plates over my milestones and it was nice to have something different."

Kevin said he was "struck in awe" by the painting, adding he thought before the unveiling it might have been a commemorative football shirt.

Currently in the process of renovating his new house, the portrait is currently on loan at Kevin's mum's house but will have a place in his new home once it's ready.

He added: "I'm really chuffed with it."