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
Whilst in confinement, I plan to complete a 'few' pieces of art that have been hanging around the studio for a while. Over the weekend, I worked on a painting of myself with our old Labrador/Collie cross called Cindy. I am using the Ampersand Pastelbord which allows me to create smooth layers due to its texture.
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.
This christmas, I was extremely busy with commissions. I had five to complete in the space of 6 weeks, which was a real challenge. Normally, one portrait can take 3 - 5 weeks each, so it was a very busy time. All were completed and delivered out to customers in ample time, and I have included all the commission details and final portraits below, alongside 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, as a surprise portrait from a husband to his wife, for their special 1 year wedding anniversary. The reference photograph was a brilliant composition to begin with, and 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 at the age of 20! Her owner was looking for something special as a memorial to Murphie and came across my acrylic portraits known as Traditional Hearts. There were only a few photos of Murphie, so choosing the best one was tricky. Black & white animals can be difficult, as getting the right balance of dark and light in a photo, is a challenge.
I was able to recreate her portrait by providing an equal balance of colour and detail, whilst ensuring perspectives were kept in check.
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
" 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 a Boxer dog called Obie, as a surprise gift from friends online to a lady in the USA. The reference photo was a beautiful pose and of great quality, so I was able to gather lots of detail to be able to create this special memorial painting of him.
My acrylic paintings are created using a mixture of vibrant colour and sometimes I will include a medium or two, which provides texture. The background texture was created with moulding paste and applied with a palette knife. Nearly 40 Facebook friends clubbed together to book this surprise portrait, and it was lovely to hear how happy the recipient was upon receiving such a thoughtful gift from great friends!
Karen M Berisford