Portrait Commissions

2011Article posted by Gilly

As I mentioned in my last update, I have completed the military portrait for my nephew and also the QARANCs Captain portrait. My nephew was very pleased with his painting and it is now framed and looking good. His mate, the other guy in the painting, also wanted a copy, so my wonderful framer took a photo of the original before framing it and transferred the image to canvas. It looks great, same size as the original but just a little darker in tone and contrast. That will now be posted off to Sydney.

My ‘client’ for the QARANCs Captain returned from the UK and visited to view the portrait before we had it framed. He was “ecstatic”, which made me feel very good! Once it was framed earlier this week I delivered it to him. The subject of the portrait still knew nothing about it (he said it had been so hard not to tell her), but he has since emailed me that once she got over the shock of seeing herself in pastels, she was absolutely delighted. This makes so much of painting commissions worthwhile. They may not be exactly what I want to be painting, but they are good practise and when they turn out well and clients are happy, it’s such a good feeling.

This particular client was so pleased with the portrait that he has further commissioned me to paint another, this time of his niece who is in the Royal Navy. I’m looking forward to it.  He has also given me permission to have the QARANCs Captain on my website, so watch out for that one.

My red-tailed black cockatoos that were the experimental birds in the oil painting technique turned out beautifully, as did the gum leaves painted from life. I wasn’t so pleased with my background branches which I’d wanted to have slightly blurred. This technique didn’t allow me to push the paint around as I wanted (or, more likely, my lack of skill with the technique as yet). I may return to my wet-in-wet techniques for obtaining that particular effect. But, overall, I’m fairly pleased.

I’m now doing the initial glazing on a pair or chestnut teal ducks - my largest canvas to date using this technique, so, fingers crossed! One I feel more confident with what I’m doing, I’ll set up another demonstration to go on the website. I’m also longing to do another watercolour painting as I haven’t used that medium in such a long time and I’m frightened I’ll lose my skills there. It’s just finding TIME! I haven’t painted for almost a week as I’ve had my young grandson staying for a few days holiday. However, we did go to a Cuddly Animal Farm and the Wildlife Park so I took hundreds of animal photos (yay for digital cameras!) and am about to download and sort them all out. There will be dozens more painting ideas there.

You know, portraits is really what I do. Be they human or animal, or bird, my main focus is in depicting the personality and zest of that particular subject, and all the background stuff is just incidental. Important, and it has to be rendered correctly, but it isn’t where my real interest lies. When I think back, that is what I’ve done since childhood. So, on with it!

Add Your Comment

Name: *

Email address: * (required will not be published)

Website URL:

Remember my personal information

Your comment: *

Notify me when someone responds?

Enter this word: