Commissioned Portrait (so far)

I have been working on a commissioned painted portrait over the last couple of months. The reason I haven't posted anything until now is because I wasn't even sure if I could do it! This artwork is completely different to anything I have done before and using oils (I haven't done much in this medium...). Complete lack of confidence, I know, but this was no ordinary portrait to take on...

Gloria - the portrait so far. Its almost finished, just a few more tweaks here and there, but I will have to put the paintbrush down at some stage and declare it finished or I'll go on tweaking forever... the more I look at it, the more things I find to fix!


The lady to be painted, Gloria, sadly passed away last year, which is why her husband wanted her portrait painted. Unfortunately there were very few photos ever taken of this wonderful lady because she didn't like having her photo taken and the photos that do exist are not very detailed. The brief was to paint a portrait of her sitting on her favourite chair with their little dog sitting next to her. As there is no actual photo of this scenario, it had to be reconstructed using about 5 different photos as reference (a couple of photos of the sofa, one of the little dog, and a few different pics of Gloria sitting on another chair).

This was the final approved sketch which was then drawn onto the canvas.
Once a rough design sketch was worked out and the best format (square or rectangle canvas) decided on, I finally started painting, which was to be on a large size square canvas (approx. 1 x 1 metre). The actual painting of the background was the most daunting part - I had painted faces and people before but not furniture or room settings! I then realised the scale of the job ahead... BUT I was determined to prove to myself that I could do this - no matter what the negative little voice in my head kept saying. And so I began to paint...

Day 7 - this is how the portrait looked after approximately 7 days of painting (over a period of about a month that is).  The background was killing me... at this stage I was ready to give up.
The sofa was killing me... so much detail, so many little studs, I felt completely overwhelmed - could I really do this? At this point I actually rang the client and suggested he find another artist. My confidence was nil. But somehow he managed to talk me around and convince me to give it another month (what an incredibly wonderful man?). I agreed to keep going, got off the phone and amazingly started to paint...

A couple of weeks later, the portrait was close to being finished so I sent him a photo. I waited anxiously, convinced he wasn't even going to recognise the lady in the portrait! He was really happy with it - only her eye colour needed changing! You can't imagine how relieved I felt...

Now to just get those final tweaks done. Will post the completed painting soon...

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