Taking Advantage of an in-house model during lockdown
A friend of mine asked me if I had ever thought of using my artists skills to paint portraits. I nearly died, didn't she know that portraiture work is a tricky tricky subject. One that could leave me having sleepless nights worrying about how the painting would turn out, and compared to the Old Masters, it seemed like an overwhelming challenge. But as my artist skills improve with the hours at the easel, I find myself coming back to portrait work time and time again.
I am currently painting my daughter, a willing model, stuck at home during lockdown. I started by sketching using pencil for an hour once a week and after a month of sketches, I felt comfortable to explore painting her. I felt I knew her face inside out. I knew where the skin changed colour and the shadows fell across her neck, I thought I knew where the light reflected light back off her skin but nothing prepared me for actually painting this portrait. When painting there is always a stage in the process when the painting looks ugly, and this is where I am currently in my portrait of my daughter, I keep reminding myself this is the journey of the painting and not what my daughter looks like.
In the age of over-documentation, when every wedding features a full film crew and couples give screenings of their honeymoon pictures; when no mantelpiece is safe from the triptych photo card, be it for Christmas, birth or engagement; when instant self-reflective gratification is all that we know, why are we not indulging ourselves in portraiture?
Here are things that make me smile related to portraiture.
Royal Society of Portrait Painters
How much does it costs to commission a portrait?
Prices are based on size and complexity, but as a rough guide, a 40x50cm portrait painting is between between £1,500 - 3,500. It take time to paint a really good process and really should not be rushed.
A head portrait take around 4 weeks and a full figure portrait up to 6 weeks.
Excited to be doing this
GIVE AWAY TIME
I enjoy writing my Mini Moment newsletters and feel brave enough now to start to expand my readership.
My aim is to find more people, just like you, who would like to read the monthly newsletter in which I dip into parts of the visual creative industry that catch my eye, and tell you about my art practice – plus, open up the chance to have a conversation.
I have had a subscription sign-up on my website for a while but I would love to increase it. I know there are groups of wonderful people interested in visual art and I want to talk with them too.
I am going to GIVE one of my paintings to a newsletter subscriber!
A painting – yep, you read it right – not a print, an actual original painting, one that I have poured love into. And why? Because of you guys – your interest in my art practice is priceless and I want to take an opportunity to say thank you. Hopefully the chance to win one of my paintings will bring a little
C O L O U R
to the start of your year.
I'm giving away a figurative painting that I painted early in 2019. It is of a model called Lennie; the pose lounging in a pair of voluminous fuchsia pants that, if you look under the bent leg has a great shadow, I used dark violet to explain this space. I chose to paint the figure from the feet towards the head, which gave me the challenge of capturing the way the body foreshortens at this angle.
The painting is oil paint on board and measures 40 x 40 x 2 cm.
Titled 'She is a Woman'
The painting would work really well with a shallow tray frame. I am happy to recommend a good framer any time..
To enter the prize draw all you have to do is sign up to receive my Mini Moment newsletter – if you are already signed up to receive the newsletter, you don’t have to do anything – you will automatically be entered into the prize draw, I just ask you to message me on Instagram at
and let me where you would hang this painting if you won it
(remember to follow me, if this is your thing).
Remember to tell other art-loving friends, for their chance to win too.
The competition closes on 10 April 2021 at 18:00 and the winner will be announced in April's Mini Moment newsletter.
Quiet January Moments2021
My professional year as a painter is defined by the weather (painting outside in the rain sucks) and entering competitions and selling my work through shows.
Competitions are where the artist submits a few paintings and a selection committee or judge/s decide who goes through, the results are then carefully curated and exhibited and for sale. For example: ING Discerning Prize, Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy or my current bi-annual favourite the Self Portrait Prize.
Competitions are tricky and as artist, it is important to think about which ones to enter, matching the style and level of work to the competition. There are a many things I consider when I enter a competition; one, competitions cost to enter; two, I fell they can be a bit like trying to win the lottery, not many of us get through and three, sometimes the feeling of non success is just too painful and can halt the creative practice.
The shows I had lined up, I have postponed until later in the year when I hope to join the amazing Sussex Fair Art crew and show at Brighton at the end of October.
As so much has changed for me this year, I have decided to sale my work on-line too.
I will update my website with a few select pieces, I am excited to be giving these paintings a platform to be seen, rather than sitting collecting dust. One good thing that has come out of the pandemic is the artist pledge scheme #artistsupportpledge - set up to promote creative work for sale below £200. I will be using this medium to sell some sketches do look out on Instagram. Another reason to follow me victoria_a_r_t .
That was a different kind of Christmas
still important to acknowledge
What was your Best Christmas present?
Mine sits between a few tubes of oil paint that where choose to match the colour of some new tea towels and a collection of small ready made canvases to do sketch paintings on.
Above paintings both by William Nicolson
What makes a good painting?
This is often debated between artists, collectors, actually everyone can have an opinion.
A group of artists including me where debating this late last year. Actually it started with what makes a painting tasteful?
I feel that a painting is only good when the artist themselves thinks that the painting is good. This got expanded to 'when the artist thinks that theartist themselves thinks that the painting is good and that opinion stands up to the opinion of others".
Another way to assess a painting is if they have space and air in a painting.
Above are two paintings that show a painting with air and space.
I am working on a series of paintings based on drying clothes, be it washing lines, tumble dryers, airers, rotary lines or cordomatics. Above is the most recent image I have received from Canada.
TO ALL THAT HAVE ALREADY SENT ME IMAGES AND STORIES, I FEEL REALLY PRIVILEGED TO BE ALLOWED INTO YOUR LIFE FOR A SMALL DRYING MOMENT.
PLEASE KEEP SENDING ME IMAGES, FEELINGS, STORIES AROUND THE SUBJECT OF LAUNDRY DRYING. PLEASE SPREAD THIS NEWS, IF YOU SEND THIS NEWSLETTER TO 5 PEOPLE, IT WILL REALLY HELP.
THE MORE I CONNECT WITH THE MORE I CAN PAINT.
This domestic subject of clothe washing has started a conversation irrelevant of age, sex, race, culture, class, finances, religion; it is closely connected to childhood memories of texture and smell and some people have rules and regulation that go with their neighbourhood or country, meaning they have days or even hour when they are able to hang out their washing.
What a mess the lockdown is making to being able to see art in person.
If I was able to these are what I would be seeing this month:
Rock against racism Del La Warr pavillion
As I can't, Im going to watch Grayson Perry's art club and flick through the BFI website with a huge collection of films, some are free. Watch a short one on David Hockney. GOODBYE FOR NOW
STAY SAFE, STAY SANE AND TODAYS MANRA IS:
I am not afraid to be wrong