Not just a likeness – Portraits with life!
Scroll down to see portraits I have created for people.
I have created more portraits of children but they were memorial portraits that my clients preferred I didn’t show on my website.
Click on each photo to see a larger version, see sizes, if available a photo of the portrait framed and other information.
I regularly paint from a model. Painting from life rather than from a photo is the best way to practise using colour and learn about the human form.Our eyes can see many colours that a camera can’t see and also see into the dark areas of a figure.The experience I gain from these life sittings enables me to use that knowledge when I paint from photographs and inject life and extra believable colour into each portrait to make them really realistic.
You can tell artists that haven’t learnt this knowledge or have never painted from life because their portraits will be stiff , cut out , with dark shadows and very light light areas. The colours will often be very bland and boring. I can paint from a photo but inject colour into the portrait . People without this experience just copy the photo resulting in a bland 2D portrait..
The sessions are only 2.30hrs long so there isn’t enough time to get a really finished portrait. It’s here I experiment with colour . I can then tone it down a little if required in my commissioned portraits or let loose and create you a colourful portrait!
Here are some of the 2.30hr unfinished practise portraits I create in these sessions.
I often capture an essence in these sittings because I am experiencing the model in front of me and gaining glimpses of their personality which comes out in the portrait.
It’s not possible to have a smiling pose from a live sitting as the model can’t hold a smile for that long.That’s why most of these portraits are a fairly simple pose- even if the model starts out smiling and animated they usually almost fall asleep by the end!
We also like to use dramatic side lighting or other spotlighting which makes for an interesting painting but doesn’t usually flatter the model!
As the paintings are only for our use and practise this doesn’t matter. With a commissioned portrait I usually try and use a photo with flattering lighting.
Connor – this is how the portriat was at the end of the 2.30hr practise session
1- Bridgette at the blue underpainting stage. I get a likeness with blue acrylic and then come back over with Oil paint in colour. This stage usually takes about 1.30hrs.
Here is Bridgette once I have gone back with Oil colour. She is still unfinished. 2.30hrs isn’t enough time to complete her. I’m happy that I’ve caught something of her personality.
Kath – Sometimes I run out of time or like the blue version so much I stop at that stage. Here I decided to stop at this stage.
Sometimes we have a model who dresses with character , flattering lighting and even a touch of a smile! It makes such a difference.
Maggie – I’ve finished this one a little more but wanted it to remain more contemporary and fresh.
A few testimonials
” It’s all that I was after and more!
It conveys the soft loving woman that is Isobel which is exactly what I wanted. It will be a treasured heirloom.”
‘You are such a talented painter! We admired the portrait of our grandson, Hector, it’s just like looking at a photo – only with much more life – the glimpse in his eyes is so perfect! ‘