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
I recently completed this commission of Dougal. Pet portraits are my most requested subject, and Dougal's portrait was ordered from a returning customer as a birthday gift to a family member.
The reference image used for this drawing was a great composition, but the detail and colour, was unfortunately lacking. Extra photos of Dougal were provided, which allowed me to gather additional detail. The leash was removed from the drawing, as this added nothing to his portrait.
Living in Northumberland, the Labrador is a very popular dog breed here and having two Labradors myself, we often encounter Red fox Labradors and their owners, which allowed me to study their natural colour as we passed. I always try to balance out the values in each portrait, which means I will correct the colour tones, especially so when the colours in the photograph are washed out or under-exposed. I also spend time researching online, collecting photos of other Red Fox Labradors which act as a guide too.
If you are thinking about booking a commission of your own pet, get in touch. If you want to find out more about my commissions first, you can click one of the tabs below and read about the process or view my art gallery. I work in coloured pencils and acrylic paints, both offer very different outcomes, but are highly detailed.
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.
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!
I have begun a couple of new Acrylic paintings to join my ever growing collection. After painting our Springer Spaniel swimming, having 2 Labradors also I wanted to create a trio of paintings of them and after thoroughly enjoying painting the water in Casper's painting, I decided that this would be the theme of the trio and so went off to Woodhorn's QEII park here in Northumberland to get some photographs of him. Haze is rather excitable and went off jumping in to the water on numerous occasions, which caused him to sprain his tail! poor boy! Luckily, it was ok after a few days and it did not bother him much, so I got a lovely, natural photograph of him enjoying his swim on a sunny Sunday! Here is progress so far of the rough base layers, this is also a 11" x 14" on Gessobord.
This is the initial stages, where I apply the contrasts and loosely mark out the detail around the face and in the fur.
If you wish to follow progress of this painting, click the link below to visit the dedicated page.
2016 sees the introduction of a range of frames that can be booked with all my 3mm acrylic paintings. Every frame has been hand picked by myself, to offer a wide range of colours & styles, which will suit any painting. There are also a few FSC/PEFC frames to choose from, which are mouldings made with wood taken from sustainable sources. Click on either image below to go to my FRAMING page.
Having recently returned from a long break in my old hometown of Chesterfield, Derbyshire (note all the frame names!), I took a visit to my framers to pick out the frame for my current painting and thought I would share a few images. This is a painting of our Springer Spaniel called Casper, (who simply loves swimming) - as I now live on the coast of Northumberland, I wanted a 'washed' effect frame and so went for the 'Highfield' option. The cream frame does not overpower the tones in the painting, whilst the pewter coloured edge frames the subject perfectly.
As an old news post, some mouldings may have been discontinued.
and happiness to their owners and deserve their memorial portraits, reminding us every day of those happy times spent together and the special bond we have.
There were a few pieces I was unable to complete for the deadline (Springer Spaniel above) as I did not want to rush them being so detailed however, all these pieces will be added to my website with their dedicated page as to how they were completed and for those available for sale, a chance to purchase the original or buy a print or 2.
Details will be added on my News page once the Magazine is out (June Issue) with a link to the website where you can purchase a Print copy or a digital copy to download. This magazine is a must for any Coloured pencil lover or for anyone simply wishing to read 'my story' as it's the one and only time I'll share it publicly.
Costs are as follows:
Printed Copy $5.99 £3.87* €5.46* Delivery (1 - 2 weeks) USA $4.06 UK £2.96*
Digital Copy $2.99 £1.93* €2.72*
*Due to exchange rate, these prices may vary
Art Tutoring Website Update
For anyone who does not know, I also have an official website dedicated to my tutoring & art workshops which is known as 'Step by Step Art'. It has recently had a complete overhaul and as well as offering art workshops in the UK, it has now expanded to provide advice, information and in-depth articles to artists worldwide. Read on to find out more.
So if you have an interest in art, why not visit my Step by Step Art website, there may be some tiny nugget of advice found within these pages that helps save the life of a drawing or painting! Please feel free to share this article with other artistic friends and if anyone has any interesting articles that they wish to submit for the site, please get in touch, I would love to hear from you!
Karen M Berisford