Welcome to my Blog

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!"

Satisfaction Guarantee .

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.

Learn more at my website-


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The creation of Muffy , Tuffy & Scruffy

Chris contacted me wanting a portrait of her 3 terriers Muffy , Scruffy and Tuffy. She had been thinking about it for a while but the catalyst was when her favourite Muffy died. Chris missed her terribly and hoped the portrait would help her feel Muffy was still with her.

Muffy was 14 years of age when she passed away, Scruffy is 9 years old and Tuffy is 4 and half. They got on so well together Muffy & Scruffy really loved each other.  

 We had to make do with the photos we had of Muffy. We had a favourite one for the pose and others to help with details and colour, The favourite photo was lovely but had been taken outside and wasn't really sharp - I couldn't see the details in her eyes or nose.I ended up working form about 4 different photos. This is difficult as you can't compare the portrait to any one photo to check if things are correct- it does give the best result though!
 I went and took photos of Scruffy and Tuffy. We chose a typical pose of Scruffy who always looks sad and ............Scruffy ( lol's) and one of Tuffy looking cute.."I'm so cute..."

From top RHS clockwise- Muffy , Tuffy & Scruffy
Here I've done a rough tonal underpainting in acrylic to get position and shapes.

 Below- I've started on Muffy in Oil paint over the acrylic. I wanted to paint her first as I knew she would be the hardest because her photo wasn't clear and I had to use extra photos to get her colour eye details etc.

 Muffy is roughly done. It's a large painting so I decided to get each dog to a similar amount of finish so I could assess the overall impression. Now to move onto the others. I'll come back later and finish off Muffy.

 Below - Scruffy has been painted to a similar level of finish. I know she is too blue but that doesn't worry me as I will wait for her to dry a  bit and come back over her and tone the blue down. I don't want to use blacks and greys as the portrait would be lifeless and boring. I want to use as much colour as I can but still have them look like the dogs.

 Below- Now I've done Tuffy.I'm really enjoying painting them and laying the brushstrokes down. I am really happy with Tuffy as he looks cute and the colours are interesting and believable.I will finish him of more at the end but he'll do for now .I don't want to lose the freshness and life the portrait has by killing it with detail!
I still feel Scruffy is too blue although I have added other colours. She is a dark silvery blue grey and a bit lighter out in the sun. I will subdue the blue  a bit more. I'm happy with their expressions. The background colour looks great with the frame I have chosen but I feel I need to change it to make the portrait more cohesive.

 Below- I still haven't changed the background colour but each dog is pretty finished.

Below - The finished portrait
I changed the background colour and Chris had me make a few adjustments to Muffy's colour. The photo for the pose was taken out in the sun but I used another photo taken inside with a flash for the colour and it had her nose a lighter inaccurate colour- flash photos can do that! A few more little adjustments and Chris decided it would be better to come and see the portrait in the flesh for the final approval.

Muffy , Scruffy and Tuffy
71 x 76cm framed size
'I just love it! It's SO them. It's like she's here..'
  Muffy passed away recently and Chris really misses her.
She really wanted the portrait to help her feel that Muffy is still with her . She wasn't sure if I'd captured her when she viewed the photo I emailed through so decided  it would be better to see the actual portrait to make a decision.
She loved the portrait!
Portraits certainly look better in the flesh. I can fiddle around for a couple of hours changing things and I can see the difference in the original painting but you can hardly tell looking at a photo of it on the internet- especially if the portrait is a larger one like this one of Muffy , Scruffy and Tuffy.

The portrait will have a lovely white distressed wood frame and should make a great impression in the hall where Chris has a skylight and special light especially for Oil painting viewing.
The more light you have on my portraits the more subtle colours you will see so good lighting is very important to show your portrait to best advantage.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

2013 fully booked I'm taking portrait bookings for 2014 now.

If you have been thinking of having a portrait created you can book for a late Jan 2014 start now. Later bookings will be scheduled in as they are received. To book in means you grab a spot in my queue.
 If you book now you'll know your portrait will be created early next year and you will have plenty of time to organise photos and budget for the special event!
So plan  ahead - talk to me about your ideas. A 30% deposit grabs you a spot and then you have the option of my interest free payment plan in the months ahead so you will be ready when your portrait is finished.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The memorial portrait of Bonnie

 Bonnie passed away a while ago and Greg asked me to create her memorial portrait as a secret gift for Kate.
We didn't have many sharp flattering photos of her but it was decided we'd use the favourite face photo of her taken outside and place it on a suitable body taken inside.
We chose a body with a typical pose. Another decision was whether to paint her with both ears natural or as she was in later life with one ear up and one down.
The framed portrait is approx 51 x 51cms.
 In memory of Bonnie
 Framed Oil

Here is what Greg said when I asked how the portrait unveiling went -
'It went wonderfully, Kate is delighted with her and is amazed (as is everyone else who has been around to see her) at your talent and loves that you've really captured Bonnie's expression beautifully!!! And I agree. I was explaining to Kate how I'd been worried about whether I'd chosen the right pose and expression, whether to go with pre or post floppy ear and so on but she couldn't be happier with what we went with, so thank you for your patience and guidance.

And thank you again for a wonderful and enduring portrait. We both love it and she sits in pride of place beside the door so that Kate can see her as she comes and goes each day.!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

West Wallsend Heritage Mural continued..

 Primed and ready to go! 
Most artist get nervous  when they are going to start a painting and are  looking at a blank canvas- it's quite intimidating.. Imagine how I feel looking a a 2.4 x 6.7m blank canvas! lol's
Notice the large anthill in the foreground. Lucky it's winter and they are hibernating or doing whatever ants do in winter or I'd be eaten alive everytime I walked back to check how the mural was looking..
 I notice the mural gets the sun from quite early in the day. That will make it a bit more challenging as the paint dries almost as soon as it hits the panel which makes it hard to blend and soften effects. 
 Another thing to keep in mind is that at home the panels face NW and will be very glary to paint until I get rid of the white. They will also be in sunlight. When it is installed it will be facing East and not get much or any direct sun. I will need to take regular photos of the mural in the shade as I paint to check it looks bright enough. If you are painting a surface in bright light its easy to paint it too dull. It will have to look a bit over the top in sunlight so it is colourful in the shade once installed.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The creation of the West Wallsend Heritage mural

 The mural is going to go on the front of the Workers Club building under the West Wallsend sign. I am painting it at home on panels. It will then be carried down in pieces , reassembled on site and attached to the frame that will be screwed into the buildings facade.

Murals are slow work! So far all we have done is make the frame to hold the panels and put half of it up.
I'm  coming up with a concept and I've sent one through and made a change and sent another idea back. Once the concept is approved I can then get permission to use some photos reference from a book and go take any extra photos I need . Once I have all the photos I will do a small colour version to nut out all the design and colour problems and have that approved.
Although it takes a lot of time to do a smaller version it's much easier to change something on a small scale than on the wall! Once I start painting the mural I'll know exactly where I'm going.

 My partner made the frame one weekend inside the garage. Lucky he is helping as no way could I have done that ! Now we have bought it outside and placed it in position against the back of the studio.

Above -  This gives a better idea of the size of the mural.

Last weekend in June -
Below- The frame is attached to the wall. He  made brackets to hold it in position on the wall so I can paint. Everything has to be square or when the panels are attached they will be uneven and warped.

Hopefully this weekend we can attach the lot and put the panels on. I then need to prime the exposed frame and panels. Once that is done I do all the indoor planning with the small version and then trace the small version and project it onto the panels. I can then start to paint! That will probably be a month away.

The local school children are to help with some of the mural so I will have to unscrew a panel or two and take it down to West Wallsend for them to paint and then bring it back rescrew it and continue.

 This  is the concept for the mural.
West Wallsend was built on mining so the poppethead in the RHS symbolises that.
 The LHS top image will be the war memorial with a lighthorse rider in front.
 Below that are grasstrees. They grow only a few inches a year and the large ones are 100's of years old. There are many on the top of Mt Sugarloaf and the grasstrees were used and had special significance for the aboriginal people of the area.
The main image is the Coop store of the area. The bird in the sky will be an Eagle which is the totem for the Awabakal people of the area.
 The town sits below the Sugarloaf range and Mt Sugarloaf so that links the whole mural.I'm still getting permission to use some of the images but hopefully that will go ahead and I can start planning the small colour version. 

 Assuming everything is opk using the Co op image I have to organise a photo shoot for the Lighthorse and take some photos of the monument. The horse doesn't have to be near the monument. It can't stand in front of it anyway as there are steps. I am going to use artistic liscense there.
 I also need to go and take photos of the Suagarloaf range from the town so it is a bit more accurate.It will be more of a design feature than realistic but I do want the shapes to be recognisable. I also want to go to the top of Mt Sugarloaf and take Grasstree photos and go to Kitchener and take photos of the Mine Poppethead there. 

Sat 6th July - A good days work today. The frame is finished and primed and the panels on! Now I just have to prime the panels and get the smaller colour version sorted out.

Priming the frame in my sacrificial clothes..

  All up and ready to prime. The panels are quite heavy so I will need to help to move and take them down for the schoolchildren. I might start another thread from now on as this one is getting a bit long.