The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career 1

commission oil on canvas portraits The Story Behind 40 works that changed my career

Number 1-A portrait for Toby Sharp and his wife.

On this day last month, I clocked 40, and I shared 40 works that changed my career on Facebook. But on this blog I have decided to show the works and the stories behind them in the days ahead, so stay tuned!

Mr & Mrs T. Sharp, 80 x 100cm, Oil on Canvas, 2008

This portrait came as a commission from the groom's father, who wanted a great wedding gift for his son and daughter-in-law. It's a tricky one, when it has to be a wedding picture and I have to work from the photo supplied. But to make this work I had to go their houses and sketch them from life. After spending 30 minutes to 1 hour sketching each of them, I then went on to take a series of pictures of my own in the poses they took in the photo supplied. This would help me understand their features better and some of their body language. So I combined this with my sketches while working on the portrait.

After completing, it went well the the groom's face but his dear wife had a few things to correct on hers. I got her over to the studio and had a good look at her face and I could see exactly what she wanted corrected, around the areas of her cheeks and jaw line. Once this was done, they both loved it!

I really enjoyed working on this piece because it had them with a landscape in the background. The landscape helped in tying the composition together. I could use the flowers to lead the eye too.

"Think before you mix and place a brushstroke. Three precise strokes during a painting session are more productive than a hundred sloppy, unplanned, "spontaneous" ones. Think before you act." -John Howard Sanden

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