Friday, 8 March 2013



Over a month ago I put out a challenge to my Artist contacts to paint a more appropriate portrait of The Duchess of Cambridge than the somber and somewhat scary portrait by Paul Emsley. I cautioned people not to paint directly from a copyrighted photo and create something the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be happy to own and pass down to their children. Closing date for submissions was March 8th. 

Portrait painting is not my regular genre, (see Daily Paintworks for my essence, pal, landscape, floral, seascape, still life, ACEO, OSWOA, etc.), but I took up the challenge and really enjoyed the process. I look forward to creating many more portraits in the future and more sessions are in the works as a result. My portraits start at 8" x 10" but I also enjoy painting large works for boardrooms or larger wall spaces. Please contact me to discuss your preferences.

Here are two images of my "Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge" portrait and below are some prep paintings I did in the process. The first image is a scan which shows more of the delicate detail and less photo haze, but no image can do justice to the real painting and both these methods have somewhat lost the likeness of the Duchess which is more apparent in the original. I hasten to add that the lip study below is not Catherine Windsor, but the eyes are hers and I found the exercise very useful in creating the final portrait.

I wanted my painting to portray something of the youth and vitality of the Duchess. Her initial request of Mr. Emsley was to be portrayed naturally, so I wanted her in a summery dress with her hair gently stirred by the wind as if she was walking in the park. I wanted to convey something of the massive task she has undertaken. I was a model and a beauty queen, so I know something of the enormous pressure Catherine is under and she does it with grace and apparent ease. However, I'm sure the Duchess often wonders if she could have chosen an easier life.

It will come as no surprise to my followers that I like to convey hidden energy and I feel that there is much behind the calm persona conducting her royal duties. I get the impression Catherine is livelier and more fun in reality. She has a great deal of confidence and composure, shown in the clasped hands and strong stance, but I have placed her off center to show she is still a little off balance in the role. There is space at her side for her to mature into, representing the unknown and unforeseen future. It is also a place for William, her attentive husband and protector to stand. Although I know the pitfalls of painting an open mouth, I wanted to paint her beautiful smile and sparkling eyes. There are hints of her future role as queen in the glints of bronze iridescent paint highlights. I leave it to the viewer to decide the nature of the background. Perhaps it is flash bulbs from the paparazzi, flowers, her aura, or a crowd of admirers.
This is my first true portrait, so I felt I needed some pointers. In a series of blogs, I published some free lessons and videos to help others in the same predicament. I had moments when I wondered what I was thinking, but I had made the commitment, so I watched the videos, read the instructions and applied myself to the task.

"Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge" is currently on auction at Daily Paintworks along with prep paintings, "Catherine Eye I", "Catherine Eye II" and "Kiss Me" 

Here are progress photos of the painting.
1. Under-painting and positioning
2. Almost complete but without eye sparkle
3. Closeup of the finished face with highlights

I do hope you like my portrait. I would be interested in your impressions in comments below. I'm sorry about the quality of these photos but I'm struggling with my old camera at the moment. I'm hoping the nice taxi driver who found my newer one will send it on soon.

Cat # 13064 - "Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge"
Cat # 13057 - "Catherine Eye I"
Cat # 13058 - "Catherine Eye II"
Cat # 13059 - "Kiss Me" 

Two Closeups

For those who were expecting many wonderful portraits of the Duchess by various Artists, I'm very sorry but no one was brave enough to submit one to me. I will however, be putting out easier challenges in the future, so stay tuned.

All works by Artist Sea Dean fully copyrighted and protected by international law - Absolutely no copying, printing, or use in any form without signed, written approval by the Artist.