Wednesday, 20 February 2013

JACK and THE POSE, Duchess of Cambridge Challenge

by Sea Dean
OOAK ACEO 3.5" x 2.5" 
To view my Gallery please visit Daily Paintworks.

This painting is SOLD but I'm happy to take a commission for a similar work. Contact me to inquire about prints and Art cards.

This little bird was painted for the DPW  "Amalgum" Challenge. The criteria was to choose another member of the DPW community and incorporate their style into one of your paintings. "Jack" is in homage to Angela Mouton and her lovely little birds.


This is targeted towards preparation for submission to THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE PORTRAIT challenge. However, the information applies to any portrait. Below is a selection of portraits by famous Artists. Each painting gives a different impression of the sitter and is an amalgam of choices made by the artist, sitter and patron

There are many choices involved in deciding on a pose. Most importantly the patron needs to happy with the finished work or they won't take possession, so ask lots of questions. Do they have any major likes or dislikes? Ask where the painting will hang and if it needs to match a certain decor? Is there a particular image they would like to convey, a special item of clothing, a colour or a preference for light, dark, warm or cool colours? And the list goes on! You will get more out of the patron if this is a casual conversations rather than a question and answer session.

The first sitting is used to determine the personality of the sitter, make notes, take photographs and make sketches. Decide on the lighting by turning the sitter this way and that and study various effects. Does the sitter have any unique features? Should you show only the shoulder, move further away to include the upper body, or back off  for a full length view. Should they face right, left, up, down, forward or turn and look over their shoulder? Which is most flattering?

In the case the initial commission for their portrait, the National Gallery was probably expecting something befitting a future Queen of England. The painting would be viewed in a somewhat formal setting. It appears as if the Artist and the Duchess had free reign, but I expect that the famous Gallery was hoping for impact, especially as it was the first official portrait.

The Duchess of Cambridge requested that it be "natural". She is young, attractive and sporty, so I think she was trying to steer them away from painting her in a tiara and glamorous gown. If you look at my link to 118 photos of Catherine, you will see she is fairly conservative.  She is not one to wear much jewellery or embellishment but does have a strong sense of style. For the initial sitting she chose a plain navy high necked blouse with a navy bow, a pretty severe choice for a lovely young lady. Paul Emsley mentioned that he altered the colour of Catherine's eyes to match the blouse; personally I think matching her eyes would have been a better choice. What do you think?

Personality may to some extent help with the setting. If the sitter loves horses, fashion, playing piano, bright colours etc. then obviously that would be included in the portrait. In the case of the Duchess she is a keen follower of fashion, and has an aptitude for sports. Apart from that we don't know much about her. I don't know if she has any pets but I do know she's allergic to horses. More clues may be gained from her patronages which lean towards children and the forces.

As for unique features, I would say her hair is the most striking feature followed by her eyes and her elegant tall slim body. She also has beautiful even, white teeth. Her lips, nose and legs are not her best features.I hope this has helped.

Cat # 13050