The life of an artist is not always lucrative. To help make ends meet, I found a part time job as a receptionist in a Cranbrook salon, and the dynamic owner Gabby is the subject for this painting.
Starting a business is an exciting moment. The bold portrait captured the mood as Gabby embarked on a new venture with her business partner, Sara. Their Purdy and Power hair and beauty salon in Cranbrook, Kent is now well-established, a leading local salon which attracts customers from near and far.
I loved the interior of the shop and the reflective surfaces and mirrors, so those became a feature of the painting. This is one of the largest portraits that I have produced, and I struggled to get it in the boot of the car. My husband never fails to remind me of this when I start a painting!
The hockey player
The Hockey Player, Marden Russets Acrylic on canvas, 1360 x 500 x 15 mm
The portrait shows my son, a keen hockey player who played for Cranbrook School and his local team, Marden Russets, at Marden in the Weald of Kent. The painting was inspired by the luminosity of the team's yellow shirts. I also wanted to capture his growing self-confidence and physical presence.
The painting was selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition at the National Gallery in 2010.
Alex and Lilla
After painting a portrait of Lilla, I produced a joint portrait of her with her father Alex, who is teacher of Mathematics, Head of Boarding and part of the Leadership team at Cranbrook School. For the painting I took elements of geometry, basing the composition on an isosceles triangle and intersecting linear planes.
Little Lilla is a bundle of joy who was rarely still at 18 months. I had to rely mainly on photographic reference for a portrait, as she is full of enthusiasm for life and constantly on the move.
This portrait of Alexandra was painted for myself after producing a commission for her family. Another pose was chosen for the commissioned portrait, but when I looked at the drawings and photographs I chose to paint this image as well as I loved the lighting and the quiet moment present in the composition.
The painting was selected for the 'Not the Turner Prize' exhibition run by the Daily Mail in 2003 to be exhibited along with other figurative artworks at the Mall Galleries, as the Daily Mail had disagreed with work chosen for the Turner Prize and the lack of figurative work at the time.
This painting was my entry for the BP Portrait Award 2017.
This portrait was painted whilst Krishna was teaching mathematics at Cranbrook School. He has since moved to teach at a private school. A keen sportsman, Krishna is always active, so sitting for a portrait was a challenge, although it did provide a rest from his busy schedule.
Gavin is the Housemaster of School Lodge at Cranbrook School, Kent, an IT specialist who is always looking to the future.
This self portrait painted in 2016 was selected for the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017. The selected artists were filmed as we painted celebrity sitters during filming at the historic Wallace Collection, London. Selection for the competition was from self portraits (as I entered late and there was little time I chose to do this one in a small size!). My portrait of actor Phil Davis didn't get into the final, but it was a great experience.
Life drawings and sketches from one or more sittings are usually part of the process, with the portrait then completed from photographs. Or if you are giving a surprise gift you may choose to have a portrait made from a favourite photograph.