Christmas orders began coming in by September last year (2017) and I had little time to spend on anything else. I worked around 10 - 12 hours a day from mid October onwards and had to create a finely tuned schedule list for each day to ensure every portrait was completed for a specific date because there were a few overseas orders, some framed too and I had to ensure frames were received in plenty of time knowing framers tend to be extremely busy in the run up to Christmas too. I was hoping to have finished all my orders a week before I was due to travel to my old home town of Chesterfield so I could relax a bit but I was literally working late into the night before my journey the next morning!
Luckily everything worked out well in the end and my final portrait Star the Chow Chow, was literally collected by the Commissionee at the train station when I arrived in Chesterfield, he had travelled the 6 hours with me on bus, coach and then train in my suitcase! I received a lovely bunch of flowers from the lady for his painting and was pleased to see some lovely comments from recipients throughout Christmas day upon seeing the portrait of their much loved Pets. Click on any of the images to visit the progress pages.
Now all the Christmas Commissions are all complete and I've had a couple of weeks off to recharge, I am back in the studio working on new articles and 2018 Art Workshops for my Step by Step Art website, there's always so much to do behind the scenes. If you are looking to book your own bespoke Commission with me or are an Artist interested in articles, mini tutorials and possibly taking in a 1 Day Art Workshop with me, click on either of the links below to visit the page/website.
Here's hoping 2018 is a wonderful year for you!
It has been a while since I posted on my News page as it has been very busy here in the studio and I completed my final Chesterfield Art Workshop of this year in August and so I thought I would share some of my recent Acrylic paintings with you.
I currently have a list of works to start and others to finalise and more shelves have been put up in the studio to house all my portraits. I prefer to work between portraits as well as swapping mediums, as this works better for me and so there are currently 20 portraits in progress stages, more nearing completion than those in the early stages. Here are 3 of my recent works that I have not yet shared within the pages of my website:
Amethyst Sunbird on Red Hot Poker
Since finding the talented Scotch Macaskill's Reference photos website, I have been inspired to get back to my first love in Art which is Birds. Scotch is an amateur photographer who lives in South Africa and captures whatever photos of South African Wildlife that he can whilst on Safari with whatever camera he has to hand at the time.
I have chosen many reference images from his site and these paintings when complete, will be added to a new website purely depicting all my Wildlife Art, mostly Acrylic work but some Coloured pencil portraits too. I will keep you up to date with this new website but suspect it will be sometime next year when it is up and running as I have a lot of paintings to create yet! Here is one of the first Sunbirds I am working on. It is a male Amethyst feeding on a Red Hot Poker flower also known as a Torch Lily.
I have had the ideal composition photograph of a Red Hibiscus flower for many years and knew I would create it in Art at some point. I chose the Acrylics for such a subject as their vibrancy would be ideal for such a colourful subject.
I applied some tiny blobs of Molding Paste to areas where there were water droplets on the flower and as I already had a gold frame for this portrait, decided to change the colour of the flower to yellow, although the portrait is not yet finished and I may yet change my mind again! This is progress so far along side my little pots of pre-mixed colours that I use for this and a few other paintings I have on the go.
Haze the Black Labrador - Progress so far in the first 4 stages
As we have 4 dogs - 3 Labradors & a Springer Spaniel who love splashing around in the water when we take them out on walks, I wanted to do 4 separate portraits of each and as I enjoy the challenge of painting water, I picked out 4 of my favourite photos that we have captured of them over the years. I have already completed the Springer Spaniel Casper, and this is Haze, the daft Labrador of the bunch! The slideshow below shows current progress of this painting in 4 stages.
The background is always the first thing I work on and the main subject can then be finalised afterwards.
Thanks for viewing and I hope you found this post interesting,
Feel free to 'like' or leave us a comment below!
Have a lovely day, Karen :)
Latest Acrylic Art progress - A beautiful Cherry Blossom Dachshund 'Miss Molly' & Summertime boy 'Storm'
In between Commissions, I will pick the paintbrushes up and work on a Non-Commission portrait. The first one is of a gorgeous little Black Dachshund dressed up for her photo op in the Cherry Blossoms which I thought would make a stunning painting and after Molly's Mum gave me the green light to use her reference photo, I chose a square 12" x 12" canvas size and set to work.
This is quite a technical piece as usually I will begin with the background ensuring it is 95% complete before beginning the subject itself but as there is so much detail in the background and some overlap onto Molly herself, I am doing a little bit of to-ing and fro-ing, it also breaks up the monotony of all those pink petals which can make you 'blind' to detail if I stare at something for too long.
I purchased a frame for it a while back and chose the detailed yet understated 'BROCKWELL' black frame (priced at £45) mainly to set those pinks off well but also as a compliment to Molly's colouration ensuring both the frame and flowers will not overpower Molly once complete. There are many more hours to do but I will post here when I have further updates so do keep checking back regularly or you can follow me on my Facebook page at Karen M Berisford's Artworld.
'Summertime Boy' - An Acrylic painting of our Yellow Labrador 'Storm' relaxing in the evening sunshine
We have 4 dogs ( 3 Labradors & a Springer Spaniel) and 2 birds (Ringneck Parakeet & a Cockatiel) I wanted to create some small paintings of each to hang at the top of our stairs, so I opted for an 8" x 10" size and picked favourite images of each dog in the same type of stance ( head to the side) with a 'foliage' background to match.
I began with our Yellow Labrador Storm, and loosely applied the background colours as a base which can look rather messy at this stage but then I tidy it up and create a softer balance of tones, I then move on to the main subject. In the reference photo, there is a lot of sun shining on the right side of the body and some of his natural colour has been lost due to the need to lighten up a dark photo and so I decided to work from another photo of him to add a more natural colour to his fur and to soften the harsh glow of the sun somewhat.
I chose the ASHGATE frame (priced at £40) to compliment all the portraits as it is a tonal colour of silver/gold which would match the warm browns in the Yellow Labrador & the Liver Springer and the silver tones would suit the Black Labradors and the neutral colours (greys/whites) of my 2 Birdies also. I will keep updating this blog with progress as and when, understandably I have a lot to do with 6 paintings but I think they'll look beautiful together once all framed and hung!
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Thanks for reading and have a great day!
This year I was extremely busy with Christmas Commissions - I had 5 to complete in the space of 6 weeks, normally a portrait can take 3 - 5 weeks each so it was a very busy time. All were completed and delivered out to the Commissionees and here are the portraits alongside information on each and the customer testimonials.
"I'm sitting looking at Buddy in pride of place on the wall, photo attached! It is absolutely lovely and it had the desired effect on Steve when he unwrapped - there were tears!! Everyone that has seen it has said how amazing it is with the amount of fine detail and so Buddy. If I manage to get a decent photo of Buddy next to it I will send it on! Thank you once again, it is lovely to have a painting of Buddy forever."
"Just wanted to let you know that mum loves her portrait and we all cried our eyes out when we first saw it. What you've done is so special and we couldn't have asked for a better painting to remember him by. It captures his brilliant personality so well. I'll definitely be recommending you to my spaniel loving friends!
"Hi Karen, I just wanted you to know that I absolutely love my painting of Kita. Thank you so much, you have done the most amazing portrait of him. He was my best friend and my little boy and the painting has been hung in the living room so we can all admire him everyday! Thank you again xx"
"Hi Karen , Hope you had a lovely Christmas. Wanted to drop you a note to say that Max absolutely loved the portrait! She couldn't believe how well you'd captured the detail from the photo and was thrilled to pieces! We've already recommended you to friends and family and am sure we'll use your amazing skills again in the the future. Have a great New Year!! Diarmid"
"Thank you so much for my beautiful portrait, you've really excelled yourself this time, its amazing!"
This year has been an extremely busy Christmas for Commissions and I suspect I ended up biting off more than I could chew, finally finishing the last commission of the year today and feeling emotionally shattered after early mornings and late nights creating some beautiful doggies and very special portraits for some lovely people. This is one of the Christmas commissions that I can show as it was given to the recipient early so Kita's Mum could choose the frame of the memorial portrait of her precious boy. Having created so many Pet portraits over the years I was able to work far more into the painting than was seen in the photograph as Kita's owners sadly had few photos of him and as Acrylic portraits offer extremely fine detail, every single hair had to be applied individually using a very thin brush to give the fine detail.
Upon completion of the portrait I then applied 2 layers of satin varnish which was then framed in the 'Brockwell' moulding, packaged up and sent to his new home. Upon receipt Kita's mum sent me the following text:
"I just wanted you to know that I absolutely love my painting of Kita. You have done the most amazing portrait of him, he was my best friend and my little boy. I love him so much and the painting of him has been put up in the living room so we can all admire him everyday!!!
It is always special recieving such feedback and I am looking forward to hearing how my other portraits have gone down this Christmas, hoping I am able to bring a smile to the recipient's face and knowing I did a good job for them all. I will share each portrait on my blog once I've had a decent break and would like to offer this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!
I recently completed this stunning portrait of Willow the Springer Spaniel and her ball as a surprise Commission from a husband to his wife for their special 1 year wedding anniversary. The reference photograph was a brilliant composition to begin with and so I knew the painting would be great fun to do.
My Acrylic paintings are created to offer vibrancy and wherever possible, texture and as the ball was at the forefront of the painting I mixed a moulding paste in with the paints to give the fluffy texture of a tennis ball. I also added texture into Willow's fur using the moulding paste too to add interest when viewing the painting at different angles.
This portrait was created on a 22mm Gessobord so that it could be hung without a frame and the edges were also painted too. The painting was sealed with a few layers of Satin Varnish and 2 wall protector feet were added to the bottom corners on the back of the painting for added protection. The great thing about these 22mm board portraits are that you can choose at a later date to have a frame added if you prefer or keep them unframed for that contemporary feel. I really enjoyed creating this portrait and was pleased to hear Willow's Mum was pretty happy with her surprise when she received it too!
Karen, I was the lucky one to receive this beautiful painting. I can't tell you what a lovely gift it is, thank you so much for capturing Willow's character so well. I absolutely love it, it's beautiful and one to be treasured for many years to come.
Murphie - Large Traditional Heart Memorial portrait
Murphie sadly passed away in December 2015 aged 20 years of age and her Mum was looking for something special as a memorial to Murphie and came across my Traditional Hearts portraits and got in touch. It is always a real challenge when it comes to black & white animals as you tend to find that a lot of definition is lost in photos as it is very difficult to strike a balance of these colours whilst still retaining detail however, through various layering of
paint colours including grey and brown tones added to the black fur and with greys added to the white fur I was able to create an equal balance of colour and detail to ensure perspectives were kept in check and the final portrait was as close a likeness to Murphie's photo as possible. Feedback from Murphie's Mum upon receipt told me that I had done a good job!
Bailey - 10" x 12" Coloured pencil pet portrait
Bailey is the second portrait completed in Coloured pencils for his Mum after heartbreakingly losing both Bailey and Casey (the first portrait) in close succession of each other and was gifted both portraits by a good friend. Bailey was originally sat on a green stripey rug but I thought it would suit the portraits if they were both sat on the same wooden
flooring so that they would compliment each other once framed and hung next to each other.
" Bailey just arrived! Well, about 15 minutes of tape removal ago. We are so chuffed! Bailey was loved by all of us, but loves my husband best, he was over the moon! We are blessed by your talent!
Obe - 11" x 14" Boxer Dog Acrylic painting
I was asked to create an Acrylic painting of Obie the Boxer dog as a surprise gift to a lady in the USA. The reference photo was a beautiful pose and of great quality and I was able to gather lots of detail from the reference image to create this special memorial painting of Obe.
All my Acrylic paintings are created using a mixture of professional paint colours and mediums which offer texture to the painting. The background texture was created using a palette knife and texture was limited on Obie himself except for a light layering of fur texture. Nearly 40 Facebook friends clubbed together to book this surprise portrait of Obe and it was lovely to hear how happy the recipient was upon receiving such a thoughtful gift from great friends!
Karen M Berisford