BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw may think he's "no oil painting" but thanks to a Fine Art student from Great Harwood -- he is!

Michael Youds, 21, of Blackburn Road, is a second year student on Blackburn College's new Fine Art degree and has created two portraits of Mr Straw which will go on display at the course exhibition next week.

At a private viewing on Friday the Foreign Secretary will be able to select his favourite self-image to keep, as a thank you gift.

Michael, who has studied for five years since leaving St Augustine's school, spent two hour-long sittings with Mr Straw at Blackburn's Labour Party Offices preparing sketches for the works and taking photographs, with the help of photography student Rachel Dejnowycz.

The project began after Mr Straw agreed to a request from Michael's tutor.

He said: "I have always been interested in doing portraits and I've done a few of family and friends but never anyone famous before. My tutor Richard Cross inspired me to paint Mr Straw.

"I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I've spent a lot of time making specially-stretched canvases and doing charcoal drawings. I've had a lot of advice from fellow students and tutors.

"He seemed really nice when he sat for me, very down to earth. We chatted a lot about football, though I'm a Burnley fan.

"He came and saw one of the paintings halfway through and he said he thought it was a pretty good likeness."

Michael's paintings of Mr Straw will be exhibited alongside the work of his 16 fellow degree students at the College from June 18 to July 3.