You probably know me best as a painter of animals, but did you know that I also like to add splashes of colour and geometric shapes to my own kind too?
As much as I love to paint animals, us humans have rather interesting faces, and I really enjoy portrait painting too. Just like Fox of Delights or Percy The Squirrel, our eyes tell so much of the character behind them, and colour and shapes allow even more personality onto the page.
I recently had the joy of painting not just one person, but a pair of portraits of a brother and sister, for their grandmother Sue.
Sue and her husband are both retired and live in the picturesque Lake District, where they have been for 12 years now. Sue’s husband is a Cumbrian native, but she is from the equally beautiful North Yorkshire.
Despite residing in Cumbria, they didn’t actually realise I was a local artist at first. They came across my work on social media and decided on some cushions for their living room. Sue used to breed sheep on a small holding in Ullock so chose an assortment of sheep goats and cows, along with one of the stags, a horse, and Cyril the Squirrel (having the fluffiest tail of all the squirrels must have paid off!).
It was only after acquiring a menagerie of animals for their living room that Sue and her husband saw my art in a brochure that they realised I was just a stone’s throw away and came to one of my open studio days.
They had been toying with the idea of portraits of their two youngest grandchildren for a while, and when visiting my open day saw that I painted people too. After a chat and discussing how best to take photos of the Children for a portrait, Sue decided to bring them with her to my gallery when they next came to stay. It was lovely to meet the children in person, as well as taking their photos I was able to talk to them and get to know more about the people behind the cheeky smiles! They chose the colour schemes for their own paintings too, picking colours they thought matched their personalities best, it was such a pleasure to have them involved with this process and certainly helped with being able to capture their unique personalities.
The children were sworn to secrecy about their trip as it was all a secret from their parents. They were very good, not saying a word; I thought they might, just by accident, so I am very impressed!
While Sue was away on holiday I worked on the portraits, sending her pictures of progress along the way, and when she and her husband arrived home they came to collect them. I’m delighted to say that they were thrilled with the result, as are the kids! Their parents were apparently a little overwhelmed when they saw them for the first time, which is lovely to hear.
For now, the portraits hang proudly in Grandma and Grandad’s living room, where they plan to enjoy them until the children are older and will each be gifted their own portrait, such a lovely idea!
So now you know that I paint people too, is there anyone you’d like to see immortalised in splashes and patterns?
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Hoping to help parents who are now home schooling with a project about wildlife painting. This isn't a step by step guide in how to paint like Sarah, the aim is to allow children to research an artist, create an artist profile, and then to experiment with colour & paint. I have taken the key points from the lesson plans created by Jo-Anne Mallinson, a Deputy Head teacher and tried to make it flow in an accessible way.