If you came along to my demo last Saturday … here, as promised, is the finished portrait of Liz Hodgkin, politician, mayor, gardener, singer and all round mover and shaker in Henley on Thames. As you can see I have exchanged her mayoral gown for her Greys Church choir robes and the photo background for Henley in Bloom Green.
My latest addition to the “Fifty Faces'” collection is on display today! Locals of Henley on Thames may well recognise master (mistress?) baker, Nicola Taylor. Lawlors the bakers have been supplying the town with quality bread, buns and cakes for decades and Nicola’s daily Facebook posts keep my tastebuds tickled all though the week.
This is Angela Tilby, the Diocesan Canon at Christ Church, Oxford.
As it is Holy Week she seemed a perfect choice for my seventh face out of 50 in 2016. Angela recently visited Harpsden Church where I work as organist and choir leader. She was instantly likeable with a warm, lively personality and down to earth approach.
It was a pleasure meeting soft-hearted, gentle cocker spaniel Pippa for a June photoshoot in 2015. Afterwards, her owners also sent pictures of how she looked as a puppy, and the result was two portraits of her, one as a youngster, and one as an old lady.
Six months later, I received a call from her hum an family, explaining that Pippa had recently developed terminal bone cancer behind one eye, which, tragically, will have to be removed. I was touched when a family member kindly phoned me and said they were glad they had got her portrait done before her diagnosis, and commented that they remembered I had gone to a lot of trouble to get her eyes right.
In these paintings, Pippa is remembered as the family knew and loved her for so many years.
To celebrate my 50th birthday in March I will be starting a challenge to do 50 portraits over the course of the year. I am not sure quite where this will take me but I think it will evolve into a mixture of faces seen in the mainstream media and out of it. I will be looking for variety in features and life stories and hoping to learn a bit about techniques of portraiture on the journey. Watch this space for the unveiling as it goes and count with me as I aim for my target over the next twelve months.
If you would like to participate in the project as a model please contact me!
One of my most enjoyable commissions so far. A family of 5 requested a large painting of a Chilterns landscape, with them in it, for their living room wall.
They supplied a photo of the scene, but as it was taken on a dull, grey day, the colours were very muted. The brief was to jazz up the colours and give it an autumnal feel. I also had to add the whole family plus dog!
The wall it was destined for was painted a bold ‘heritage’ red, so the canvas had to work both in terms of colour and dimensions.
Discussing the size with the family took some time, but we eventually settled on a large 90 x 60cm box canvas.
I took a bold approach with the colours (possibly inspired by the dynamism and energy of my clients as well as the wall hue). I added a windblown sky, full of light and shadow, and simplified the shapes of fields and trees, creating them out of large blocks of intense colour. Dark shadow tones were employed to add depth and drama.
If you too have a favourite place, why not ask me to do a personalised picture of it for your house?