Oil painted portraits
The portraits I paint are 100% handpainted. My paintings are sketched by hand directly onto the canvas before I start painting. I use good quality oils and materials and there is no digital printing involved. Many oil portaits you see online are actually digital prints with a small amount of paint applied to certain areas, usually around the eyes. Sometimes oil paint portraits are a digital photograph with an oil paint filter applied.
I qualified with a Ba Honours degree in Fine art and have always enjoyed painting and drawing people. I never had a doubt that I would choose fine art as my degree subject, and although at the time, portraiture was not "in vogue" I continued exploring it and adding self-portraits to my body of work. Since leaving university I painted the occasional portrait or landscape, but I was more focused on designing and creating invitations and stationery for my business Ladybug Designs. I enjoyed working with clients, making stationery that reflected their ideas and themes.
My life shifted again when our children came along and priorities changed. Now the girls are more independent I am able to move my focus to what I enjoy: painting portraits. I used to paint solely with acrylics, I think partly because it was the "go to" medium of school and university, and I was comfortable with that. I also liked working with oil pastels, but my real passion was paint.
One birthday, my mum gave me a gift of oil paints. It was a travel easel full of glorious and sumptuous oil colours that she had seen at an auction. It took a while to brave this new medium, but since that first stroke I have entirely embraced oil paint. My first oils belonged to someone who also clearly enjoyed painting, and I felt I owed to them to do them justice. There's something about oil paint that makes me feel rooted and connected to the history of art. I am far from a master of oil painting, but I do hope that my joy and passion shows.
The process of portrait painting
Although I would love to have my subjects sitting in front of me while capture their likeness on canvas, modern life just doesn't seem to allow us that luxury of time. Instead, I work from a clear, detailed photograph. I can add in elements and group people from different photographs. All the way through I can send visual updates of the painting and you can be involved in the process and I won't finish until you are 100% satisfied. The entire process can take 2-4 weeks on average. The more people in the portrait, the longer it takes.
I request a deposit of 50% before I begin, and the rest is paid upon receipt of the portrait.
I believe the process of portrait painting is fun for both myself and those I'm painting and painting for, and involvement is down to the indivual. An original oil painted portrait is the perfect gift, for yourself or a loved one. It is also a beautiful way to commemorate the memory of those no longer with us.