Since 1998, I have been painting portraits of children, adults, animals and houses. I greatly enjoy all these subjects, although a lot of my work is of children. They are very good at just being themselves, and have not yet learned how to be too guarded!
I paint in both watercolour and oils. Each has its own unique quality and although the end results are very different, with either medium I concentrate on bringing out the delicate tones and textures of each subject: the translucent 'light' in their skin and eyes, the sheen and depth of colour in their hair. I also enjoy not being restricted in the amount of detail I can lay down - the individual hairs in eyelashes and eyebrows, for example, add a delicacy and life to a portrait and bring a face into focus.
I prefer to visit the client in their home as the subject is usually most relaxed there. This includes visits to overseas clients and I travel worldwide.
I prefer to work from photographs. There are various reasons for this. Life is increasingly busy for us all and often the adults I am commissioned to paint have young families and very full lives. Where portraits of children are concerned, they often find sittings boring (or completely impossible, depending on their age!). The length of the photo-session depends on the number of people I am photographing, but usually takes between one and two hours. If possible, I like to chat or play with the child for a while in order to familiarise myself with their faces, get a good idea of their personality and see what facial expressions are really 'them'.
The client and I then choose the best image for the portrait. We work together on this as they know exactly the expression they want to capture in the face of the subject (this includes animals!), whereas I have experience with what makes a good composition. The finished portrait will usually be ready within six to eight weeks, although if something is needed urgently it is always worth letting me know, for it can sometimes be done sooner.
If the portrait is to be a surprise present for a partner or friend, and it is impossible to arrange a photo session without giving the game away, then a favourite (clearly detailed) photograph can be emailed or sent to me, preferably with any others that show the child from different angles. I have done many portraits of children in this way for overseas clients, so have a lot of experience with this method.