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Monday, 21 August 2017

Why Contemporary Portraiture is Important

In a time where social media and electronic communication have become the norm, the idea of commissioning a portrait still seems to be incredibly alluring, and we thought we would offer a few reasons as to why this might be... 

Before technology began its journey to world domination, portraiture was an invaluable way of documenting historical figures, and transmitting them to the current, and future, generations.  Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of ‘Queen Charlotte’ (image below) may not have delivered him the Queen’s favour but it did show us a side of the monarch which would never have been revealed had Lawrence been more sensitive to his subject’s vanity.  Sadly the painting was not accepted by his sitter, and the painting remained with Lawrence.  From then on he decided to flatter his sitters a little more in order to keep a constant stream of commissions.   

Queen Charlotte, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1789, oil on canvas, 239.5cm x 147cm © National Gallery, London

Today, with the help of an unlikely accomplice in photography, portrait painters are less inclined, or socially bound, to flatter their subjects.  Photography and videos document people daily, and because of this, portraits are naturally compared to photographs of the sitter for verification as to whether the painting is a good likeness.  The artist has more pressure than ever before to paint an accurate representation, or face a rather short-lived career.  


The Dean of Westminster, by Nick Philipps,                    Lady, by Jamie Coreth, oil on canvas, 2016
oil on canvas, 2012

Photography provides a ‘quick-fix’ kind of portrait which can be captured by everyone.  This has actually increased the popularity of painting a portrait from life by highlighting the rare talent needed to do this.  A method adopted by some of history’s greatest portraitists, including Titian, Sargent, Velázquez and Lawrence is the sight-size technique.  The method instructs the artist to place the sitter and the canvas side by side, allowing the artist to view both from a measured distance and translate the sitter onto the canvas, checking proportions and accuracy as they go. The portraits above by Nicky Philipps and Jamie Coreth are two accomplished examples of modern day practitioners of the sight-size technique. Their portraits are accurate, full of depth and have a healthy amount of paint applied to them – another benefit to the method is that the artist gains confidence in using lots of paint making the portraits more sumptuous with full, dominant brushstrokes.  To a sitter, the idea of being painted by an artist using  such a historical technique practised by artists of the past adds more than just an element of romance, it feels like you are also taking a place in history.   With the speed of every day life constantly accelerating, there is also a push toward that which is not instantaneous, and the gentle, organic process of portrait sittings could not embody this more.

Nowadays having a therapist is as normal as having a bath, and a portrait painter is essentially your therapist with a paint brush.  No phones, no gadgets, no internet, just you and another person in a room talking, listening to music, or sitting in silence.  A rare occurrence in our era, but somehow even the most high-powered businessmen obey the ‘no phone rule’ and embrace the peace and quiet for the two hour sessions. 

Two portraits of a man, by Rosalie Watkins, oil on canvas, 2014

Rosalie Watkins painted the two portraits of the client pictured above.  Originally only one portrait was commissioned (the left-hand image) to be a corporate painting for the client’s company.  However during the sittings the client decided to commission an informal portrait to keep for his family.   They are great examples of how one person can be painted from life multiple times and, although both physically resemble the sitter, capture very different sides of his character.  For the corporate portrait the sitter chose to wear office attire and hold work-related documents.  He is in ‘business mode’ and this persona seems to filter into his disposition provoking a more serious facial expression.  The painting style is tighter which again reflects the more guarded personality, which is also emphasised by the pose, clothing and props.  The second portrait has a looser style.  The sitter’s clothing (he is wearing the same shirt as the first portrait, but with an open collar) and the softer expression that hints at a smile, creates a far more informal depiction of the sitter.  He is relaxed, and a warmer side of his character comes through.  The client was happy with both portraits, they each fulfilled the purpose for which they were painted, and serve as fantastic examples of how well portraits can convey personalities.  Rosalie got to know the sitter even more during the second set of sittings and this has allowed her to find a different side of his personality, arguably a more intimate one, very fitting for a portrait which is to hang in his family home. 

‘Celebrity’ has taken on a whole new meaning in the last century, there are so many of them, all written about and photographed constantly, yet we still have an insatiable hunger to know more about them, and portraits provide this.  Johnathan Yeo’s series on Cara Delevingne in 2016, which was displayed at The Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle, in Denmark, portrays the actress in a variety of poses with different props and outfits.  The paintings allude to the current fascination with ‘the selfie’ and how obscuring or revealing different parts of the sitter can manipulate the way in which they are viewed.  Yeo’s choice of a young, upcoming actress who is constantly in the media brought welcome attention to the world of portraiture and gave it a refreshing, modern feel which appeals to the younger generations looking to buy, and commission, works of art.

Three of the nine paintings of Cara Delevingne, by Jonathan Yeo, 2016 © Jonathan Yeo

Our last explanation for the increasing interest in contemporary portraiture is the simple theory that people like to spend their money on a painting of someone that means something to them.   It is two presents in one – a present for oneself, as well as a present in the form of an experience, for the sitter.   Contemporary portraits rebuff the notion that they are celebrating ancestry.  They shed the sometimes ‘dour’ image which this idea conjures and embrace everything that is vibrant and expressive about modern painting, while still maintaining the physical likeness of the sitter. The static stiffness of many past portraits is replaced by exciting new ones which experiment with different techniques and breathe life into the sitter, while still creating beautiful works of art.

Man, by Sam Wadsworth, oil on canvas, 2015 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

BP Portraits Awards: What to look for....

The BP Portrait Awards never fails to create a buzz, with lengthy debates on the how the year’s exhibition compares to its predecessor’s, and the inevitable discussion on which style is preferred, who ‘in my opinion’ should have won, what an odd subject matter etc. etc. The list goes on… As you wander around you will hear projected comments dissecting style, subject and helpfully suggesting ways in how the portrait could have been improved, usually by people (like me) who cannot draw a circle but as a viewer have been given the right to critique.

The culprits of these comments should read The Evening Standard’s interview with the Senior Curator of the National Portrait Gallery, Sarah Howgate.  She broadly summarises what the judging panel of the BP Portrait Awards 2017 were looking for when choosing the shortlist of this year’s exhibition. Emphasis was put on the stories surrounding the portrait; what does the work tell us?  Is it about the sitter, the artist or both?  Will it evoke emotion?  What is the style of painting?..  From this interview it seems that narrative plays a significant part in the panel’s decision, as well the style and skill of painting. This then prompted thoughts as to what we, at Fine Art Commissions, look for when perusing the walls of the NPG’s most established exhibition and why they might differ from those of the judging panel…

The BP Portrait Awards competition has been running since 1979 and has been sponsored by BP for the last twenty-eight years.   One of the most impressive accolades of the exhibition is its international reach with this year’s competition seeing 2,580 artists entering portraits from 87 countries.  Only the 50 shortlisted paintings make it through to the annual exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.  The competition pulls in visitors from as many countries as the entrants, in 2015 over 320,000 people walked through the doors to see the array of works on display.  As an artist the chance to display your work at the finest Portrait Gallery in the world, to such a vast audience, does go a long way to explaining the number of submissions.  There is also the added bonus of the £30,000 prize money and a commission from the NPG which will hang in their permanent collection to whet the appetite further. 

Would Fine Art Commissions have been working to the same criteria when judging the entrants?  Yes, in general terms of style and painting skill, but the narrative is where the roads part.  As a commissioning agency we guide and advise clients through the process of choosing an artist for a particular project.  Because of this we need our artists to be accurate in their depiction, consistent with their style and palette, and imaginative in their compositions.  We need to know that the previous portraits which we show to a client clearly represent their current painting style, while also showing that the artist will not just recreate an old composition with a different sitter.   The narrative is important but unlike many BP Portrait entries, it is not chosen by the artist beforehand with a specific audience in mind.  It is developed simultaneously with the portrait, as the artist learns more about the sitter.

Both criterias, for the BP Portrait judging panel and for FAC, have their limitations.  For FAC it can mean we are less gung-ho in taking a chance on an artist who has produced one phenomenal painting but has little else to their name, as we cannot be sure they will deliver to clients.  We focus on technical ability so that we are confident that the artist has all the tools they need to capture the sitter’s physical likeness and create a fantastic portrait.  Creativeness is something we encourage once an artist has the fundamentals.

In contrast, the BP’s judging panel can choose an artist based on just one flair portrait.  No previous works are needed and it gives an artist the confidence to progress further in their career.  However they are dictated by their audience and need to make sure the exhibition will appeal to the public.  This may explain the competition’s interest this year, in the narratives of the portraits.  As you may have noticed the general public are currently fascinated by other people’s life stories (look at the ratings for ITV’s Love Island…).  Narratives do add an additional allure to a portrait, everyone enjoys a story, but it can also mean the painterly elements of a portrait are overlooked.  A technically brilliant painting with a mundane choice of sitter, may mean the artist loses out to a celebrity portrait. This is not saying this has happened at the BP Awards, but more to say that it is important to realise that the final destination of a portrait can determine how a painting, and an artist, are judged both privately and publicly.  If you are lucky enough to go to the BP Portrait Awards this year, keep Sarah Howgate’s guidelines in your mind as you amble through the NPG’s halls, as they might help you learn more about the works, and why they were chosen.  They certainly did for us!


Huge congratulations to the winner of this year’s BP Portrait Awards, Benjamin Sullivan, His winning portrait ‘Breech!’ delivered in all manners (no pun intended).  The painting connects the sitter, the artist and the viewer, altogether, in an incredibly intimate manner.  The portrait depicts his wife, gazing at their eight-month-old daughter while she breastfeeds her.  We (as the viewer) take the position of Sullivan looking on at the scene and immediately become involved.  There is also a rousing story surrounding the painting, not in the least from the suggestive title ‘Breech!’.  The portrait is well painted, the combination of the limited pallet and painting style may not be to everyone’s taste, but it does draws attention to Sullivan’s wonderful handling of light and the detailed skin tones.  After 13 years of being shortlisted (a current record) and third prize last year, Sullivan is a deserved winner.

Image result for ben sullivan breech
Breech!, by Benjamin Sullivan,82cm x 40cm, oil on canvas, 2017

The BP Portrait Awards 2017 will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London, until 24th September 2017.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Arts Council England - Funding Announcement

Today at 10.30am the Arts Council England will be announcing the funding plans for their National Portfolio for arts and culture organisations during 2018 to 2022.

The Arts Council England is an organisation, which through investment, supports and develops new artistic and cultural experiences across the country.  To provide an idea of the scale of these projects, between 2015 and 2018 they will have invested £1.1 billion of public money from government, plus £700 million raised by the National Lottery to create and support art and culture, and bring it do those who do not have it. 

During his interview with Nick Robinson on Radio 4 this morning Sir Nicholas Serota, the new Chair of the Arts Council England, outlined what the funding for the next period will focus on.  The total funding will be £170,000,000, and this will be used to raise the current number of organisations funded from 700 to 831, including 72 museums and 7 libraries. 

The Arts Council England will be looking to bring art and culture to areas outside of London, areas which are not currently recognised or visited for the arts including; Bradford, Stoke, Luton and Tees Valley.  The organisations which will be funded are smaller ones, and ones that reflect the diversity of the country, as Mr Serota put it the ‘Green shoots’.  The projects which need financial support to get started.  As their mantra dictates, the Arts Council England are continuing to bring great art to everyone, especially focusing on those who do not currently have access to it.

One of the larger projects which will benefit from the Arts Council funding is The Factory in Manchester.  The building has been designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and will be located at the site of a the former Granada TV studios. The planned opening is in 2020 and the project will cost a total of £110 million. £78 million has been pledged by the Arts Council England as well as £78 million vowed by George Osborne in his 2015 budget for his Northern Powerhouse vision.  All forms of art will be displayed and performed at the venue, bringing international recognition to the north and cementing it as a cultural hub.

We shall be waiting to hear more about the exciting projects planned by the Arts Council England at 10.30am, and will look forward to keeping you updated with more specific details in the months to come. 

Image result for the factory manchester
                                     The Factory in Manchester ©OMA

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Exhibition: Sargent: The Watercolours

We were so bowled over from the announcement of the RA’s exhibition that it slipped our mind to tell you about an equally exciting show which is opening next week at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, namely, Sargent: The Watercolours.

Being a gallery that specialises in portraiture, it may come as little surprise that we at Fine Art Commissions are incredibly interested in this particular artist.  Sargent is the most famous portrait painter of his era, and a painter that many of the artists we represent today look to for inspiration.  With his large brushstrokes, and flawless depictions of drapery, Sargent’s portraits were always animated, beautifully composed and generously painted.  His work has an elegance and softness which is hard to top, and his use of light is dramatic and theatrical. 

However, the exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery will not be showing Sargent’s portraits, they will be displaying the watercolours he painted during his time away from portrait commissions.  This is the first time in 100 years that these paintings have been on display in the UK, and will be a fantastic follow on exhibition to the NPG’s 2015 show ‘Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends´, which displayed Sargent’s non-commissioned portraits.  Combine the two and you have a well-rounded picture (excuse the pun) of what Sargent got up to when he wasn’t painting the great, the good and the fantastically wealthy!

The exhibition runs from 21st June until 8th October 2017 and there is a wonderful precis of the exhibition by Sargent’s Great-nephew, Richard Ormond on the Gallery’s website -  this will provide you with more fascinating details on Sargent and the exhibition.  See you there!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


Good news travels fast, and it seems great news travels at the speed of a cheetah – London’s Royal Academy of Art have announced their 2018 exhibition ‘Charles I: King and Collector’. So far, only general details have been released about the exhibition, and it is not known exactly which 150 paintings from the great collection will be on display.  However to keep up the hype until next year, we thought we’d provide a bit of historical context to Charles I and his fabulous art.  Our aim: to give you some idea as to why this will be such a highlight of 2018.  Let us know if it helps!


  •  The exhibition will reunite 150 artworks which Charles I acquired for his private collection between 1620 and 1640.   
  • Major European Museums have confirmed that they will be lending artworks for the exhibition, including Paris’ Louvre and the Prado Museum in Madrid. 
  • The pieces in the exhibition will not have been seen together for almost 400 years, since The New Model Army overthrew Charles I, beheaded him, and sold his private art collection.
  • · Details are yet to be confirmed but the exhibition promises to bring together artworks from the sublime and the great including; Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio, Coreggio, Raphael, van Dyke and Holbein.


Between 1620 and 1640 Charles I amassed a private art collection consisting of 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures. His interest in the arts was ingrained from childhood through watching plays and performances at the court of his father, James I.  Additionally James I had worked hard to repair England’s fractious relationship with the Habsburgs which had been strained by Henry VIII’s split with Rome in the 1530’s.  This reconciliation allowed England once again to look to Europe for cultural direction, a change that could only improve the current royal art collection which heavily featured work by Holbein and Hilliard (no bad thing), but was desperately lacking the art of the contemporary masters who were the height of  popularity in Europe, such as; Titian, Raphael and Botticelli.

Before he even took the throne Charles I set about building his historical art collection.  He had a trusted group of art advisors, including The Duke of Buckingham and Sir Balthazar Gerbier, to guide him on his acquisitions.  In 1620 Charles had been keen to acquire a painting of a lion hunt by Rubens which on arrival and closer inspection, was found to be a studio work and not by Ruben’s himself -  luckily this was spotted by Sir John Danvers, another advisor, and the painting was returned, shortly to be replaced by an original.  A pivotal moment for Charles and his love of art was his visit to Madrid in 1623.  Accompanied by The Duke of Buckingham and Gerbier, the intention of the trip was to encourage a possible Anglo-Spanish marriage between himself and the Infanta Maria.  However when Charles returned home without a bride, and in her stead, paintings by Titian, Velasquez and Rubens it was clear what had caught his eye more – King Philip IV’s fabulous art collection.

Philip was a huge enthusiast of the arts, his collection was thought to be the greatest in Europe and by his death in 1665 it consisted of 4,000 works. Understandably Charles was like a moth to a flame when he visited, his eyes were opened to the most prominent artists of the time and their most enviable masterpieces.   The large collection of artworks which Charles returned home with were not only ones he bought or commissioned.  Art and politics have always  been conjoined and this era was no different.  Gifting art played a huge part in political persuasion, and with the hope of a future Anglo-Spanish marriage, Charles received a gift from Philip IV in the form of Titan’s Charles V with a Dog.  There have probably been subtler ways to persuade your intended brother-in-law to convert to Catholicism than by presenting him with a portrait of the Holy Roman Emperor…  However this would not have dampened Charles' delight at the present!  Unfortunately the marriage between Charles and Maria never did materialise, and although Charles returned home with a chest of masterpieces (including a free Titian) and a penchant for Spanish attire (which quickly became customary at the English court) he had done little to improve relations with Spain. Clearly art had taken precedence over international relations and the welfare of his country, a pattern which would be frequently repeated throughout his reign.

Between 1627-28 Charles continued his rather gratuitous spending and bought the entire art collection of the Duke of Mantua. This was a collection which contained Raphael’s Holy Family, Mantegna’s Triumphs of Caesar and Caravaggio Death of the Virgin to name a few.  Again, this decision can be seen as art taking priority over current affairs - the money which was spent on the collection was intended to aid a war at La Rochelle which The Duke of Buckingham was currently fighting.  Possibly not to acquire a collection of artworks for the private pleasure of the King.

In 1649 the New Model Army overpowered the royalists and Charles was executed on 30th January.  Cromwell took position as Lord Protector and the Charles’ private art collection became, yet again, a tool of political propaganda. Charles' interest in art had brought it back into public interest,  it had become a symbol of wealth, taste and intellect, and Cromwell wanted to eradicate this.  He ordered for a sale of all the artworks to take place at Somerset House.  The £118,000 which was raised from the sale was used to provide for the recent war widows, Charles’ creditors and funding the navy.  Cromwell hoped to remove the majesty of art by making it universally available. Did he realise that this would form the foundations of the modern art market?   Probably not, but by lowering the price of the art, as well as gifting it to tradesman who would have been unable to acquire it otherwise, he enabled art to reach the masses, not just the affluent.

Following Cromwell’s death, and a short leadership by his son, Richard, Charles II, returned to England in 1660 and took the throne.  Throughout his reign he endeavoured to reclaim his father’s collection.  He managed to reacquire 1,100 of the original artworks however many prominent pieces had been bought by European Royals from the sale at Somerset House and were now part of their own court collections.  These paintings could not be recovered and are now part of collections forming the Louvre and the Prado - paintings which we hope to see in the RA’s exhibition next year. 

Over a forty-year time span England went from having a modest Royal art collection, to one of the most sort after, then back to nothing and finally to the 1,100 original works from Charles’ collection which we have today.  A remarkably journey and one surrounded by a huge amount of history.  Should Charles I have been preoccupied with building a fabulous art collection rather than concentrating on stabilising his country? From the perspective of a ruler, no.  However from the view of the art world, he has provided the UK with one of the most phenomenal art collections, which really is something to thank him for.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

From the view of a sitter (in the studio of Nicky Philipps)

rom the view of the sitter 

The thought of being painted by one of the world’s leading portrait painters, if not the leading portrait painter, can’t help but raise the question as to whether you quite deserve a place among the great and the good of her past sitters.  However, it is quite apparent when you meet the artist, Nicky Philipps, that she does not share this concern.  It is not the person that intrigues her, although the more the you sit the more she will probe you (without judgement) for your views on current affairs, but more the fresh challenge of capturing the face which sits before her.  Nicky’s technique is methodical and calming, you will become immune to the beady eyes peering at you from behind a thin pair of glasses, and their relationship to the arm which holds the brush and translates each thought.  You will occasionally hear a mutter regarding a particular feature, something like ‘no no, your nose is larger than that…’ ignore it, this isn’t a tactless blunder, rather a statement of fact in relation to the brushstroke which she has just whipped across the canvas.

 Nicky is an artist who practises the same sight-size method as that used by Reynolds, Sargent and Van Dyck, and you will feel that you are in the hands of a similar calibre when sitting for her. She embodies all the right things about an artist, all the natural things.  She puts paint on brush, and brush on canvas and from that manages to conjure a portrait which breathes; a talent modernity is constantly finding ways to crush and easily criticise through photography and ‘air brushing’.

Take advantage of being in a studio that embodies all the great myths of the artist.  Nicky’s is actually incredibly well ordered and tidy; made up of stacked blank canvases primed and ready to go; an immaculate palette of fresh paints, reds, blues and yellows, soon to be mixed and transformed into the natural tones of the skin, a faint smell of turps and the remnants of some eclectic artist’s parties which spontaneously occur in a way only they know how.

There is a refreshing lack of technology in the studio, a computer, iPhone, and radio are the only signs of the time, and none bar the radio are used in Nicky’s painting process.  She paints solely from life.  There is also little to suggest that Nicky has a standard ‘painting routine’ for her portraits.  After all, a new sitter brings a whole new experience, which is equally challenging and enjoyable for her – or at least this is how she tactfully described mine!  You will be amazed how quickly, and with what seems like minimal effort, that a face starts to take shape on the canvas, and it is fascinating to see the blobs of paint from the palette combine to create you.

I cannot speak for all Nicky’s sitters but I imagine the majority of us have stayed beyond our welcome as there is no place quite like her studio and you will not want to leave once you are there.  Another factor may also be that Nicky will not put down her paint brush until physically disarmed, so if you do suddenly find yourself as her muse, do keep half an eye on the time, otherwise you will find that you have whiled away the entire day (including lunch) discussing various political topics and becoming mesmerised by the two-step jig she performs as she lunges back and forth from the canvas.  It is an experience that will be very hard to top.

Finally, my tips for a sitter:

1.)    Try not to envisage what the portrait will look like, the full experience comes from meeting Nicky and seeing what she finds particularly interesting about you.

    If the process interests you, ask questions, you may not find yourself in a studio quite like this as often as you’d hope.  If you get asked to be quiet, it is probably because she is painting your mouth.

    The painting will travel through multiple stages before the final portrait reveals itself, I would therefore advise against showing the portrait to anyone until this stage has been reached.  Photographs distort brushstrokes and pick up on wet paint, consequently making the portrait look completely different on a iPhone and computer to what it will look like in real life.

    Pick a comfortable pose, you’ll be in it for a while and too much fidgeting is at your peril.  If Nicky suggest changing the pose it will probably be for a good reason, so I would go with it (even if you have had a day of sitting already) it is worth getting right.

    The legendary myth regarding artist’s distaste for timings may not be completely without truth.  If you would like to see the fruits of your combined labour then try not to have a rigid timeline for completion.  Relax and enjoy the process, unless you are Her Majesty, or a very lucky person, portraits do not occur too many times in one’s life and should be enjoyed to the full.

    Appreciate the talent of painting a portrait.  We have become relatively spoilt after seeing so many fabulous historical and seem less impressed and quick to judge where we think it could be improved.  Easy to judge, less easy to paint it yourself.

    Try not to fall into the ‘airbrushing’ trap of the 21st Century.  This is not a photograph. The portrait will be a combination of your features and your character, through the eyes of the portrait painter, and this is how it should be appreciated.

    Lastly, in case you’re worried, blemishes do not get featured unless specially requested! 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Nicky Philipps: 1 minute without a paint brush.

One minute with Nicky Philipps has given us a lot to think about - a whole list of artists to read up on, a new genre of music to listen to, and an exciting young exhibition to put in the diary for June! 

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, oil on canvas, 96" x 60", 2016

1.) Most influential artist on your work & why?
I’m afraid one is not an option, the list is constantly growing; Van Dyck, Velasquez, Sargent, Rembrandt, Lawrence, Manet, Monet, William Nicholson, Peploe. There is always something new to learn.

2.) Favourite medium & why?
Oil, there is such vast range of colours.
3.) Do you listen to music when you paint, if so what genre? 
Country and western. It’s "feel good" music, it even makes me feel good if a painting isn't quite working.

4.) When you’re not painting what do you most like doing?  
Anything to do with horses. Cook, play bridge or design things... And travel, except that this can sometimes count as work because I always take my sketch book.

5.) Favourite Art Collection?  
National Portrait Gallery, especially their early 20th century rooms.

6.) London’s best kept secret?  
Rossetti Studios. Although we’re planning an exhibition for young artists there this summer, so the secret may not be so well kept after that… Hopefully it will inspire the next generation though.

7.) Dream studio location? A barn in Chianti.

8.) What portrait are you working on at the moment?
A very funny lady from Dallas who loves Sargent and country music.

9.) Any (discreet) amusing anecdotes from a sitting?
 I wish I could remember them, but as most of my brain is focusing on painting the portrait only the most dramatic stories seem to register, and they will remain secret...

10.) Who would you like to paint next?  
My current sitter's husband/family. That will be proof that she likes her own portrait. Or Dame Edna Everage.

11.) Any tips for young portrait artists starting out? Learn to draw properly.

12.) Last meal you’d like to eat?
Mashed potato and lemon cheesecake. In that order. Both with cream.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Jamie Coreth: One minute without a paintbrush

      Our twelve big questions were put to Jamie Coreth this week.  Read below for some great tips on jazz in London, what goes into becoming a portrait painter, and why we may ban him from travelling to Scotland, he could decide never to return...

     Right, here we go....

1.)    Most influential artist on your work & why?  

Mark Coreth. Without meaning to sound too fuzzy, he's a constant source of motivation and enthusiasm for me, and helps to keep me focused on the important things. (Jamie's painting 'Dad Sculpting me' depicts his father, the sculptor Mark Coreth, sculpting him (image above). The painting won the Young Artist Award at the BP Portrait Awards 2016, National Portrait Gallery, London.)

2.)    Favourite medium & why? 

 Oil paint.... it is such a flexible medium. You can treat it like water colour if you want or build it up indefinitely...

3.)    Do you listen to music when you paint, if so what genre? 

Sometimes. And varied.... electropop through to classical. Bob Dylan, fleetwood mac, Leonard cohen all play music that is uplifting more than it is distracting.
 I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

4.)    When you’re not painting what do you most like doing?

      Looking at animals.... nice landscapes.... I like fishing, flying.... netflix, I guess, actually.

      5.)    Favourite Art Collection?   Prado 

6.)    London’s best kept secret?  606 club 

7.)    Dream studio location?   Western Highlands.

8.)    What are working on at the moment?  A couple of huge canvases. 

      9.)    Any (discreet) amusing anecdotes from a sitting? 

      I once jokingly told a portrait sitter to pop their clothes in the corner so we can get started...unamused response.

      10.)  Who would you like to paint next?

      Um... dream sitters must include Obama, Brian Blessed and Richard Leakey. 

11.) Any tips for portrait artists starting out?  
Work hard. 

      12.) Last meal you’d like to eat?   .... something seafoody. Maybe scallops.

 Thank you so much Jamie.
       Ur welcome.