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11th November 2008, 10:14 AM
This is a very personal picture to me reflecting a real artistic success and (hopefully) the start of a new chapter in my life. This picture is about that.

A year ago I began this commission to paint an oil painting of Richard, a very successful businessman, chairman of the company and specialist trainer for senior executives. He wanted a portrait to hang alongside that of his father in the family home. It was my first oil portrait!

Those of you that paint in oils will know that it is a long process. This is probably at least a full months work spread over a year (drying time and repainting when you change your mind!). So you lose contact with your client after the sittings and early stages. Also Richard had said he trusted me to get on with it and did not want to be involved again until I said so.

Which brings us to last week… the unveiling in his office and the reactions and relief. As of course, he doesn’t know what the picture looks like and I don’t know for sure what his reaction will be. But I need a photo that works for future publicity at all costs (even though my mind is in turmoil).

I had 10 minutes to set up without him, followed by the fireside chat, the unveiling, reflection and feedback and a photo in the 40 minutes that follow. Did I mention my mind was in turmoil?

The picture was uncovered in silence and he said some of the nicest things that have ever been said to me. He agreed to pose and because of the nature of these things I took about a dozen pictures in short order. He is a natural performer and I got a number of different poses but this was my favourite. It was a snap in movement (not sure he’d have posed it like this).

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/666/richard_portrait.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/9828)

He will be introducing me to a number of people who are also likely to want a similar portrait, which is where I hope that I will begin to be successful in building up this new area of painting. Fingers crossed.

Just for a minute I’ll share the frustrations of the shoot. It was mixed light (good external light from a massive window, some tungsten and some halogens from above). This lit everything pretty evenly but produced some awful glare and false colour in the painting that I have rescued in RAW and then selectively in photoshop. I was using just the kit lens 14-42 (as the 12-60 was with Olympus being checked over). That was just bad timing but it seemed OK to me. But mostly it was fighting away the nerves.

The picture below shows a 100% crop of part of the painting, you can see a little of the canvas grain and surface to the paint and also some remnants of the glare and reflections which were so difficult to see on the day.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/666/richard_portrait2.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/9829)

The picture is now with Richard, I’ve just received his cheque and a personal hand-written letter which is just as important to me, as it says how delighted he is and that he has already begun to tell people all about it.

It may not be a perfect photo but it is a great result.


11th November 2008, 10:28 AM

Very well done.The painting is fantastic.

Hope this all works out well for you.*yes

Sorry forgot to add the photo is great as well.

11th November 2008, 11:21 AM

Just got back from a walk (the usual one with dog and camera:D) and saw this message in the forum. I am very impressed with the image and the image within an image:). I have shown my wife Mara the post and she is also very impressed. We both send our best wishes and hope this is the start of something very big in your life. I cannot imagine having the patience to produce the painting over a year. The background info and the photographic images round this up nicely.

Thanks for sharing


11th November 2008, 11:30 AM
Excellent work Peter (both oil and digits!)

It's great to see the painting with the subject - you've achieved a real likeness.

With this kind of result, how can it be other than a successful venture?

Nick Temple-Fry
11th November 2008, 11:58 AM

I've already expressed my admiration for this picture 'off-group'.

So I place my praise on record - not only is it a fine portrait but it also speaks highly of your tenacity and commitment both in winning this commission and bringing it to a successful conclusion. Qualities which are as laudable and important as your obvious talents.

Your picture and your willingness to share in a post should act as an inspiration for the rest of us.

Well done


11th November 2008, 12:07 PM
I can see that your client was delighted. Rather like wedding photography, I would think there must be terrible pressure on the 'creator' :)

Rather you than, me, but very well done! :)


11th November 2008, 12:12 PM
Holy moly Peter - this is superb. You kept that little (massive really) talent secret for long enough didn't ya!

I bet he is pleased as punch with that portrait.

I am stunned...!

11th November 2008, 01:56 PM
Well done, fantastic stuff - being able to do something like that is truly a gift...

art frames
12th November 2008, 10:02 AM
Thank you to everyone who commented, as I said it was a personal thing which meant a great deal to me. I am touched that you said nice things about the picture. In return, I will share something back to encourage your own creativity.

Thirty years ago I was at art school. I trained to be a commercial artist, an illustrator and when I finished college I became one. For a couple of years I survived (just) and worked for some big names of publishing and advertising (at break-even level) but during the recession my agent said they couldn't keep all of the artists on their books and.... "go and get a proper job".

So I did. And found I could do business stuff and had 30 years of success at that and don't regret it at all.

But I always wondered... what would life have been if circumstances had been different. Up until now in my mind I called the initial experience a 'failure' and looked at it in financial terms.

Believe it or not you folks (through this site) have been one of the factors in changing my confidence and enthusiasm to be creative and to, once again, dare to work a commission. All of the positive comments and warm words have helped to change my self belief. Thank you.

BUT... and this is the encouragement... the feeling of delivering a creative piece of work to a client is something you really do need to experience. The pressure and the anxiety followed by the fulfillment both creatively and in the experience of the feedback is amazing. It is beyond price to see how pleased they are and to know you are the reason for it.

I have seen a number of members here post when they have had a success with selling a picture or working for a client. I think we all have it within us. And all have talent. Have a go and share the result afterwards.

In my experience it is all good!!


12th November 2008, 04:30 PM
Peter -

Many thanks for sharing the fruits of your labour. Barrie and I are both very impressed with the result and can only imagine what it must be like for you to realise an ambition which seemed to have slipped by more than a few years ago! We wish you every success with future commissions.

Regards, Anne

13th November 2008, 11:26 PM
Wow! That's a fantastic portrait. Thank you for sharing it with us, you certainly kept it secret. I'm not surprised he was pleased with it.

I hope you get many more commissions *chr