Painting Commissioned Portraits

I do quite a few portraits on commission, so, obviously, I have to have an accurate likeness, first of all. But the other part, is that, because it’s for a client who doesn’t see it until I have already painted it, I have to make sure that they LIKE it! This one was kind of interesting, because the lady that commissioned it, wanted a portrait of herself, to give to her kids! I haven’t had to do one like that before, because the portraits that I have done on commission have either been pictures of dead loved ones (go figure!) or of kids. Female vanity, on the other hand, kind of made me nervous. So, I had the client come up to my place for a photo shoot, first. We took a ton of pictures, and then went through them together, until we chose her favourite image. Now here’s the kicker… I am personally, as vain as the next woman. If you think the profile portraits that I post are unretouched, then you obviously don’t live in the computer age and I must be the most secure woman in existence!

My dilemma… portrait photographers say that there is a thing called a “vanity scale”, where wedding and boudoir photos reside on one end, and truth lands on the other. Now, I have a personal addiction for painting “characters”, as truthfully as possible. So, for a commissioned painting of a woman… to soften, or not to soften? My final decision? Retain character, but gently…. was this the right decision? I guess I will find out when I deliver the piece!


Upcoming Workshops and Opus Demo

I have new workshops coming in the fall! For people who are interested in learning basic watercolour techniques, I plan to offer a one day workshop with the Mission Arts Council in the fall. I will cover washes, preserving whites, creating texture and some colour instruction about the fundmental theory that all watercolourists should know. Then, I will offer a second workshop to guide people through the processes of creating an original watercolour from a photo reference. That one will most likely be held over a few successive sessions, to allow participants some painting time!

Also, I will be doing an artist’s demo at Opus Granville Island on October 19th, on painting a watercolour portrait. Sign up is through the store, and this one is free!

Painting a Landscape

Sometimes I get asked to paint landscapes, from a favourite image. This is the second one for the same client. My process is , first, I play around with the colours in the digital image, if it needs a bit of “punching up”. Then. I complete an enlarged drawing, to the size that the client requests and transfer the image to a pieceof watercolour paper. Then, using masking fluid and a ruling pen, I begin masking off to preserve whites that are small and textural. Then the layers of paint begin…. usually, from lighter to darker. I always dry between layers. i also mask off other details between layers, and paint into negative shapes.

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Smalls Show

If you happen to be going by the Mission Arts Council Gallery, on First Avenue over the next couple of months, I have a few pieces there for sale in the display cases as you come in the front doors… They are all small pieces, because that is how big the cases are… The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, Noon till 4pm!

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Opus Coquitlam Demo

Yesterday, I was at Opus Framing and Art Supplies in Coquitlam, demonstrating how to do a poured watercolour! I just wanted to thank all the lovely people who came out to watch me paint! I was working on an image I took on the Westcoast Express at the station, which was kind of perfect, because one of the people who came out yesterday, was a wonderful writer that I met that day, on the train! Michelle Oucharek-Deo was kind enough to autograph her novel for me! Her book, called, “The Girl in the Peach Tree”, was a lovely,heart-warming read! I bought it on Amazon, btw… oh, and I promised to videotape myself finishing the painting, so keep posted for the rest of the demo!

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New Website and Blog!

At long last, I have taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and redone my website! I am also hoping to regularly post to this blog space…. So, what will I blog about? I think this is where I will post about my work in progress, artist demonstrations, workshops, and basically, anything that I think is interesting, to do with my art! I welcome dialogue, so please comment! I will also start posting videos on here too.