Why have your portrait painted.

portrait of woman with mastectomy sitting on bed
Woman Sitting on Bed

“Would you like to paint me?”

I don’t remember her exact words, but that was the gist of it. She barely knew me, but knew that I was an artist, and had seen my work online. How those words sound to an artist’s ears! Of course I wanted to paint her.
She had been through a lot – had fought enough battles, aside from her illness. And now she wanted to present a positive image of herself to the world; not the image of a scarred or damaged person, but instead the picture of a strong and beautiful woman.

It has made me wonder about the different reasons people have for commissioning a portrait. Most of the enquiries I receive about commissions are someone wanting a portrait of their wife, child or husband, in that order. Although I receive fewer enquiries from people who want their own portrait painted, they are far more likely to turn into actual commissions. It seems they already know what they want before they contact me. But their reasons are not always the same.
There was the ballet teacher. Dance was her life. As she began to look ahead to retirement, she wanted a record of herself as “the dancer”.., before she hung up her ballet shoes for good.

man with beard and tattoo
The Poet

The poet wanted a stark, bare portrait to take on stage, for his act. I think it turned out too stark and bare. He didn’t take it on stage.

nude portrait
Nude Portrait

A woman wanted a nude portrait of herself, as a gift for her husband. A man wanted a nude portrait of himself for his husband.
I wondered why I had a growing number of enquiries for nude portraits. I’ve tried to promote my conventional portrait work just as much, and didn’t understand this trend.. It turns out that my website ranks highly for “commission a nude portrait” and barely appears in a Google search for “commission a portrait”.

So anyway, if you know any poets, dancers, husbands or wives, or whoever, who wants that special portrait painted, whatever their reasons…, please point them towards my contact page.

Recent portrait paintings.

portrait of young woman wearing denim jacket
Detail from Woman in Denim Jacket

Here are detail photos of a couple of portraits that I’m just finishing up. The above “Denim Jacket” painting has been particularly fun to paint. The model was someone who responded to a callout for volunteers to model. I found the fabric and jewellery a nice challenge.

detail from a painting of a young internet model
Detail from Portrait of Beth

Creating a Portrait

initial drawings

I recently had a callout for volunteers to pose for portraits. These are some images from the sitting I arranged with the first volunteer. I think they give a good idea of how I set about making a portrait.
I start with initial drawings, and once I’m happy with the pose and lighting, I commence with the painting. This painting is still in its early stages, but I’ll be able to finish it now using reference photos I took in the sitting.

First marks on canvas
Still early days, but the structure is there now.

This is an ongoing project, and I’m always on the lookout for volunteers. If you can get to my studio in London SE12 and can spare a few hours to pose, please do get in touch.

London Ultra 2018

I’ll be showing my diptych “unnamed portraits” in the London Ultra exhibition at The Bargehouse, London SE1 9PH. The show runs from the 6th to the 9th December, 11.00-18.00. Preview party is on the 6th December, 18.00-21.00.

Portrait of a friend

This is a portrait of my friend and fellow artist Tarique. Some of his paintings and ceramics can be found here. It was an interesting challenge painting his painting (which we used as the backdrop), and having to use a quite different palette.

tarique