I want to share my recent art commissions with you. The portraits feature Mindy, a lovely Calico shorthair with one eye. A loving husband commissioned them as a special gift for his wife on their golden wedding anniversary, which is today. I am hoping that Maureen will cherish them.
I spent about seven weeks creating these paintings using GOLDEN heavy body acrylics on Ampersand Gessobord. I am very detail-oriented and used a sword liner to apply every strand of fur, from short hairs to long whiskers. I worked on both paintings intermittently in between other tasks.
The painting is 12" x 12" in size and was framed in the beautiful Windermere Bronze moulding. An acrylic painting is not framed behind glass, but a couple of protective layers were applied, to preserve it for many years to come.
This is the final painting of the second portrait of Mindy, which measures 12" x 16" and is painted with acrylic. Mindy's owner, Michael, provided me with numerous high-quality digital photos of Mindy. These photos were used as a reference for creating the portrait, ensuring that every detail and colour was accurately represented.
If you are interested in commissioning your own bespoke portrait, you can find out more on our COMMISSIONS page.
The completed paintings were carefully wrapped and packed with two certificates of authenticity and a sheet on how to care for acrylic paintings. I'm sure these paintings will be appreciated for many years to come.
Happy anniversary to Michael and Maureen
Fortunately, the weather has been great here in Newbiggin by the Sea. My partner John Graham and I have taken advantage of the warm, sunny days by going on bike rides along the coast. After being limited in our movements due to the Covid-19 lockdown for seven weeks, it felt amazing to enjoy the beauty of the Northumberland coastline again. I've included some photos from our bike ride and some recent artwork I've been working on. Lastly, I wanted to share that John spotted a rare bird in Newbiggin. Please keep reading to see what bird it was.
Newbiggin in the sun
Last week, John and I went for a bike ride along the coast. We took a break at Beacon's Point, a popular spot for birdwatchers known to have rare birds occasionally. We enjoyed the warm weather and took some time to relax on the cliff edge before moving on towards Lynemouth power station, hoping to spot some Flycatchers and Whinchats. We followed a path alongside the golf course covered in gorse bushes, providing an ideal bird nesting place.
'On the Easel' - Kingfisher in Acrylics
I have had some relaxing evenings in the studio recently. Having set my sights on completing some of my unfinished paintings, which have been sitting on the shelf for a while, I got the paints back out. The Kingfisher painting is a simple composition, making the final piece compelling. This bird overpowers its drab surroundings, so extra detail is optional. I created the wooden post using a mix of paint and texture gel, and the raindrops added at the end helped frame the bird perfectly. This 9" x 12" acrylic painting is available for sale, framed or unframed. You can see some framed examples below.
Get in touch for details about purchasing this painting.
Last year, John took this reference image used for this painting. The area around him was filled with open fields and small wooded areas, providing abundant wildlife. One morning, a Kingfisher landed on a wooden post and posed momentarily, allowing John to capture a few images before it flew away.
'On the Easel' - Bullfinch & Apple Blossom acrylic painting
I made this painting by combining two reference images - one of a Bullfinch and the other of apple blossoms. Near my home, there's a cycle path lined with apple blossom trees where I often spot Bullfinches. However, I couldn't capture a photo of the bird and the blossoms simultaneously. So, I used a Bullfinch image taken by John. The painting is 8" x 8" and made with acrylic. It is now available for sale, either framed or unframed. If you want to purchase this portrait, don't hesitate to contact me for more details.
What a find!
One morning, John was lucky to spot a beautiful European Bee-Eater flying over a nearby lake. Despite being far away, the Bee-Eater was easily recognizable due to its long beak and bright colours. While there have been reports of Bee-Eaters in other parts of the country, this was the first sighting of one in Newbiggin by the sea.
Last year (2017), I started receiving Christmas orders as early as September, which kept me busy throughout the season. From mid-October onwards, I worked 10-12 hours a day, creating a schedule list for each day to ensure that all the portraits were completed on time. Some orders were from overseas, and I had to make sure that any frames ordered were received well in advance as framers tend to be very busy during the festive season. My goal was to finish all the orders a week before I travelled to my hometown of Chesterfield, but I worked late into the night before my journey.
Fortunately, everything went smoothly, and the person who commissioned it met me at the train station in Chesterfield to collect the portrait of Star the Chow Chow. The painting had travelled with me for six hours on a bus, coach, and train inside my suitcase. The lady who commissioned the painting gave me a lovely bunch of flowers. I was delighted to see the recipients' positive comments on Christmas day after receiving their beloved pets' portrait. Click on any of the images to visit the progress pages.
I've completed all the Christmas commissions and took a well-deserved break to recharge. Now, I'm back in the studio, creating new articles and planning exciting art workshops for 2018 on my Step by Step Art website. There are numerous tasks to accomplish behind the scenes. If you're interested in booking a personalized commission or are an artist searching for helpful articles, mini-tutorials, and a chance to attend a 1-day art workshop with me, click on the links below to visit my website.
Here's hoping 2018 is a wonderful year for you!
Hi All! It's been a while since I've updated my news page. I've been swamped with work here in the studio. In August, I wrapped up my last art workshop of the year. Today, I'd like to share some of my latest acrylic paintings with you.
I have a list of paintings I need to start and some to finish. I recently added more shelves to my studio to accommodate all my portraits. I like to work on multiple pieces simultaneously and switch between different mediums, which works best for me. Currently, I have many paintings at various stages of completion, with more nearing the end than just starting. I want to share a couple of recent uncompleted works that I have been working on recently.
Amethyst Sunbird on Red Hot Poker
I recently discovered Scotch Macaskill's Reference photos website, which has reignited my passion for bird art. Scotch, an amateur photographer based in South Africa, captures stunning photos of the country's wildlife during his safaris using whatever camera he has available.
I have collected many reference images from the photographer's website because he has some stunning wildlife portraits.Check out one of my latest works, a male Amethyst Sunbird feeding on a Red Hot Poker flower (also known as a Torch Lily).
Haze the Black Labrador
John and I love to take our four dogs for a stroll on the weekends. Seeing them frolicking in the local lake is always fun—an excellent opportunity to get some fantastic pictures of them. I've decided to convert some of my photos to paintings. With four cherished reference photos, I've already completed a portrait of our Springer Spaniel, Casper. My primary objective is to craft a vibrant representation of our beloved Labrador, Haze. The slideshow below showcases the evolution of this painting in four distinct stages.
When it comes to creating my art, I always begin by carefully crafting the background first. This sets the tone and provides a foundation for the main subject to come to life. Once the background is just right, I shift my focus to the subject, ensuring that I perfect the fine detail and that the overall composition is balanced. This methodical approach has proven highly effective in producing captivating pieces that stand out.
Thank you for taking the time to view my post. If you found it interesting, please feel free to like it or leave a comment below.
Karen M Berisford