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I'm a professional award winning Portrait artist from NSW Australia.

Not just a likeness- portraits with Life!
I bring your photos to life in paintings that will touch your heart!

A photo freezes a moment while a painting melts hearts.

Capture a moment in their life and
keep it alive in an Heirloom Portrait !

"Your portraits capture more life than a photo ever could!"

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Have me create a special portrait just for you!.
Supply the photos and then plan the great unveiling!

I have original animal and landscape artworks available for sale on my website.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Zarley's creation - Here is the reference photo for my next portrait - Zarley.

Ashley contacted me from Canada wanting a portrait of Zarley her Portugese Waterdog . Zarley had a stroke recently and had to be put down.

' Zarley was loyal and devoted to a fault - he would have gone to the ends of the earth for me.'
He sounds like he was a great dog . I'm looking forward to doing him justice in a portrait.I will show his eyes in the portrait.
I love the writing on his bed . It says  ' If my dreams come true it will rain bones!' We have cropped the original photo so  Zarley will be larger in the portrait.
His portrait will be a 40 x 50cms unframed Oil on canvas that can be rolled and sent in a tube to keep shipping economical . Ashley will frame him later.
Here's a few photos to show progress so far..
I was getting a bit worried at this 'ugly' stage..lol's. I decided to start on his face first .I usually do the whole portrait at once but i wanted to get past the ugly stage quicker!
Phew.. I can see it's going to come ok..There is a long way to go yet! 
His face isn't finished yet but I'll go and do the rest of the portrait and come back to it later.

Here's where I'm up to about 55% finished. I've covered the whole canvas except for the white area with the type.I now have to finish that and refine Zarley's face and body and the bed.

I had several background colour changes in the process of creating Zarley. I sometimes felt I was chasing my tail and would never be happy!
Here I've changed it to green

Because his portrait is on a piece of unstretched canvas and had some ripples in it ( which will come out when it's framed)  I had a problem with sheen showing on the background. I had to take the photo at an angle to reduce this.

A bit further along  refining Zarley.

I decided I didn't like the green so went back to the purple / mauve. Now I have to integrate the rest of the portrait with the background colouring.

 The finished portrait. 
In memory of Zarley
c 40 x 50cms unframed Oil 
" It looks AMAZING!!!!! I love the painting!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Today's happenings

It was a beautiful sunrise this morning and turned into a very hot day 33 degree C.

I just watched this fellow ambling past.

 He was being dive bombed by an irate Peewee. Maybe it was her chicks that are in his belly.He's certainly had a good feed! The roos were a bit uneasy about him and hopped off.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pre Race banter - the creation of my Equine art prize entry 2012 prize entry so far.

I decided to get an early start on this years entry as I was too rushed last year and didn't like the result.
You had to go to a racetrack and take photos to paint from and the theme is 'At the track'
I'm not sure what I'm going to call it yet but something like ' Pre Race Banter ".
Here I'm just quickly drawing in all the horses etc to get them to sit together and make sure they fit on the board.
It's really rough and I soon realised the horse was all out of proportion so I redid him with shorter legs and a smaller body. 
I had placed a different head and neck on the front horse rather than use the one in the photo so I had to adjust things so the head etc is the right size for the body and make it look natural.

I'm enjoying painting very roughly and not worrying about whether I have a likeness. It doesn't matter if it looks like the horses and jockeys - they can be generic. Although knowing me the jockeys probably will look like the people by the end..lol's

Here I have the two main horses in and I quite like it although the front horse is still a bit scrunched up proportion wise.

I've got the general idea laid out now.
 I'm not sure if I'll keep all the other horses in but they can stay in for now. Grr I just realised the rear horse and jockey are too big so I'll have to redo them.

Thanks goodness for acrylic paint! I just painted out the horse so it was white again and now I'm putting some lines in to give me an idea of how big it should be. Painting is all about trial and error..making each stage more correct than the one before until it's finally ' finished' ( which is subjective!).

That's better!

That will do for now. I'm still not sure what colours I'll make each horse or whether it will have they'll be in a scene or just a coloured background. I'll see what I think as I go along. I love the way I can do whatever I want! 
It's tempting to make the rear horse a grey but I think that will draw too much attention.You have to think of the overall effect and whether a change will get you closer or further away to getting the painting saying what you want it to say.

I want the focus to be more on the jockeys rather than the horses.
I just found out I can't change the colour of the horses and the portrait has to have a likeness..oh well..I'll make the necessary changes.Lucky I found out now and not when it's finished!

  I've started to cover the whole painting in colour. At this stage I wasn't sure whether to leave the extra horses and jockeys in the background so they are are left partly covered so I can put them back in later if I want. 
I decided as I was running out of time I would take them out and I think it's the right choice as it's less cluttered now.

I usually finish off the whole painting at once but as this one is so big and would take a long time to get interesting I decided to humour myself and start on the front horse so I would keep enthused..lol's 
The front horse is now started in Oil over the acrylic underpainting.
I'm having a problem with sheen on the front horses rump so I have to take the photos from an angle which distorts the painting and doesn't really do it justice.
Here you can see the painting at an angle and how it is distorted.I decided I needed to get the grass the right colour so I could judge where to go with the rest of the painting.

Here I've roughed in the rear horse and rider. You can see the sheen problem in the photo.
I 've started to detail the front horse. I've added a bridle , breast band ,and made his hood more accurate, I've also roughly done the colours on the rear jockey and put a bridle on the horse.
Now I've roughly done the colours on the front jockey and put a bit more expression on the horses eye. Slow but steady. I've softened the background. I'm not sure if that's how I'll leave it but it's good enough for now.

The front jockeys face is roughly done..

What a difference it makes where I photograph the paintings! I have a spot in the studio that's a bit brighter so I moved the painting there.This photo is probably a little light compared to the painting but the quality of the photo is so much better! I've done a bit more on the front horse .

Ok that's the latest for now.I still haven't finished the front horse and rider but I better move onto the rear one.The challenge for me will be not to get bogged down with detail.I want impact and the story to be more important!

 I've now roughly done the rear jockey.Since this photo I have finished off the rear horse and done some more on the front one.I've also subtly suggested some foliage at the back. Now I just have to pull it all together.
 I've started on bringing the whole thing together. I decided to change the background and subtly suggest a misty  day.The rear jockey is roughly done and I've started to detail the rear horse although it will always be more suggested than the front one.

More detail , some gloss on the rear horse and still fiddling with the front one. the original photo was taken on an overcast day and I am adding sunlight on the horses so that is quite a challenge!
 I originally was going to have another horse and rider to the right of the rear horse but I decided against it and chopped the unused excess board off the RHS. Eek! No going back now!

Here I've added some suggestion of sun on the back mist.Sorry the painting is wet so we have some unwanted sheen in the photo.

Finally - finished ..I think..no see latest below

The final version is below - I decided that the grass needed to be made lighter and a few minor changes to the rear jockeys face.I could keep fiddling but this will do!

Pre race banter
 59 x 65 cms image size

Here is the painting framed.
This is for size only . The previous photos give a better indication of colour etc.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In memory of Cassie

When Alysha contacted me she wanted me to create a portrait of her mother's Rottweiler Cassie as a surprise mother's day gift.
Cassie had passed away 6 months ago.
I finished Cassie's portrait today and sent a photo of it it away for approval .
 Alysha said it was ok to post her on the internet as her mum isn't internet savvy so we have no worries about her accidently stumbling across the portrait!
 Here is the portrait and what Alysha said when she saw the photo.

35 x 35cms unframed Oil
'The portrait is stunning! I can't get over how amazing it is!
Thanks, you've done such a wonderful job!'


An update on Cassie-

'Mum absolutely loved the painting.  It brought her to tears, in a good way.
Thank you for painting such a wonderful image of Cassie.  Mum said you captured Cassie's kindness in her eyes and loved the detail on her nose which demonstrated she must have just been digging in the garden and burying her bone just before the photo was taken.'



Monday, February 20, 2012

Palettes & paints

I thought I'd post something different.
When I'm painting in Oils I place my paints in a particular order around my palette - my paint mixing ' plate'. I always place the paints in much the same order around the top so I can find them easily when I'm painting and don't have to waste time searching for them.
From the paints around the edges I can mix any colour I want for each individual portrait.
Using the colours around the outside I take a bit of several colours with my palette knife and mix the required colour in the middle.
After a while things start to get pretty 'busy ' in my mixing area. Every now and then I scrape a colour up into a blob and place it back around the edge and then wipe the palette where it was clean so I have room to mix another colour..
After a while I run out of space in the middle and some of the paint starts to dry out where I have mixed them so I then clean the palette.
I scrape up all the usable paint and put it around the edges and then brush kerosene over the middle to soften the paint so I can scrape it off and then wipe the area clean.
Viola! A nice clean spacious palette to mix more paint for that portrait !
 Once I finish a portrait I will clean off the whole palette to make a bare one for my next portrait.
Each portrait uses slightly different colours depending on the subjects colour and my background choice.
Here's a palette that's starting to get clogged up with mixes.They get worse than this one.. This is the one I'm using for the Rottweiler portrait that is almost finished.
Before cleaning...
Now I can add more original paint blobs around the outside as I need them and have plenty of space to mix new colours in the centre.
All the little blobs of colour are colours I've used in that portrait.
I put the palette in the freezer to stop the Oil from drying as fast. Doing this means I can continue painting tomorrow and use some of the pre- existing mixes and that means I don't have to waste time mixing up some of the colours I need.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Photos of Thursday morning

After what seems like weeks of overcast weather we have finally started to get a few lovely days.The overcast skies can get a bit depressing at times but it's been a lovely summer in that there has been plenty of rain so everything looks nice,it hasn't been too hot and there hasn't been any bushfire danger.

The ducklings are getting big and they haven't lost any more kids to the goanna.
This was taken a few weeks ago..On Alert!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rotten horse - lol's

I tied Zeuss up so he could wait and I could saddle him after I had breakfast and got a yell to say he'd been eating my helmet.Big tooth marks in the side grr- even when I fell off head first and got helicoptered to hospital there was only a small dint in the helmet so he must have strong jaws!

He'd been munching on my gloves too so lucky we got there in time as it would have be
en a quick vet call if he'd swallowed them.
I'm usually pretty good about keeping everything out of chomping range but I got slack today .

After the ride I usually unsaddle him near the studio and then just let him follow me like a dog down to the paddock and he goes in turns around and I rug him etc.

I got slack today and didn't tie the reins up out of the way under his neck.Of course he shook his head as he was walking and the reins dangled.Then he stopped to scratch an itch on his front leg and when he walked off stepped on the reins , panicked and broke them.My mistake again.

He trusts me more these days .The dangling half off remnants would have freaked him out previously.The bridle was hanging at a weird angle and he started to spook at it but I soothed and patted him and he relaxed. We finished the walk and I got the remnants off.
A new bridle is needed I think. Luckily it's only a cheapie.

Yesterdays 2.30hr portrait from a model - Kerrie Anne

Kerrie Anne
30 x 40cms
Unfinished Oil

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An update on the portrait of Rhiannon & Storm

It's rare to get a photo of a horse and rider where both look good. If the horse is being ridden it's outline may be wrong ( dressage / western) it's mouth open , ear back etc .The rider is often grimacing with concentration .
I don't know how often I meet someone on the ground after I've watched them ride or vice versa and I couldn't recognise them..lol's Wow they are actually a really good looking person..lol's
With additional photos ( yours or I can take them) I can come up with the perfect portrait - a serene happy faced rider and happy relaxed horse !
With the portrait below it wasn't a very good photo of the Rhiannon.See attached
The photo was taken at a distance and I've cropped it so it's not as sharp as I'd like.I have taken extra photos of both of them that will help me .
Rhiannon + Storm
I've just started to go over my underpainting with Oil.
The portrait is going through the ugly stages at the moment. I always hate this part as I start to lose all my lovely underpainting.
I hope to brighten it all up at the very end but you have to keep painting through along period of drabber stages.
It's a pretty large portrait ( see A 4 photo on the top RHS) so it is going to take a long time to do.
 Here's an update.

I still have to do Rhiannon's face and hands and then start to refine the whole portrait and maybe change the background colour but I'll wait and see what it looks like first.

 Here I've painted Rhiannon's face and hands plus done refined Storm's head a bit more.

I've changed the background colour and further refined Storms face , bridle and Rhiannon's clothes.

Final portrait.
Rhiannon and Storm
c 50 x 60cms image size
 framed Oil
Absolutely thrilled with the portrait of Rhiannon and Storm. You have done such an amazing job.
Rhiannon and Robyn

 Hung on my wall.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The creation of Silver - Aloha Silhouette

Jess's photo of her arab mare Aloha Silhouette won my photo comp on FB.I wanted  some photos to inspire me and I'd use them to do a demonstration painting at a horse event.
I was looking at the photo today planning ahead for my next demo day but I got inspired and launched into a portrait straight away! Here's a few pics of what I've done so far. 
The portrait will be one of my framed Pastel sketch specials $350. The image area is a little smaller than an A4 sheet of paper and it is created on a mid blue colour paper ( although I change the colour paper to best suit each individual portrait). 
I don't usually put any background in the $350 special sketches but I did this one for myself so I ended up adding some for design purposes.
 I start off drab and with a light touch as I do the sketch so I can easily correct errors. I gradually apply heavier layers of Pastel and brighter colours.

Getting a general sketch
The portrait is generally almost fully sketched . Now to go back and restate areas more accurately and with more colour.With pastel you have to be careful not to apply too much heavy colour too early as the paper has a subtle texture which holds the pastel on.This texture eventually fills after many layers. If you fill that texture in the pastel will no longer go on and you can't finish the portrait unless you remove some of it to give back the tooth of the paper.You can spray the paper with a fixative that allows a few more layers but it can darken any painting already there so I prefer not to use it like that.

I'm gradually covering the paper and correcting things and getting bloder colour. I'm experimenting with a few darker  suggested blocks of colour in the background that I feel will help with the design of the portrait.
 A fair bit further along.She's starting to look  more solid and real.

Thurs 2nd Feb -
I was feeling really tired and hungry and then realised I'd been standing painting Silver for 5 hrs straight.
That's when you know you've been in the 'zone' ( artist speak).
Ok I'll post what I've done in a flurry of inspiration. I think she is finished but not sure. I'm sure I'll find something to fiddle with tomorrow! It probably won't show on a photo though.
Here she is almost done.I decided the background bottom right wasn't working so changed it to the darker shade below.

Aloha Silhoeutte
17.5 x 24.5cms Pastel sketch