Friday, September 19, 2008

The slow reveal

When I paint portraits I don't let the client see the work
until I feel it's ready to be seen. I'm sure this is
frustrating for the sitter, but it's much better for me.
Today Mike Dooley's daily email said, "Very, very, very happy,
Barbara, is the same as very, very happy."

This made me laugh and I thought about it all day, because
I was very, very, very happy. My client came to see the
commission for the first time. This job was delayed first
because of her broken ankle, and then mine!!!! Luckily
both of us have had a great sense of humour about it.

Portrait commission detail's a painting of the woman with her two
cats. One of the cats needs work, because we need to
move the woman's hand over the cat's body.The cat in
tonight's image is done except for a touch up on
his leg, and cleaning up the background, and I love how he
looks. She did too I'm not a photographic portrait painter,
and have no interest in reproducing a photo, but still need
to create a clear likeness.

I've been so blessed to have only positive reactions to
most of my portraits, but I'm always nervous when
I reveal the painting. When the client came in she
couldn't stop saying "wow!!!" and a big smile spread across
her face. She especially loved the cats. Here's one. When
the other one is finished I'll show you that one, and bit
by bit we'll piece together the portrait.

The opening at Todmorden Mills went very well tonight,
and people loved my self-portrait. It had been hung on
a good wall in excellent light. There were so many
top notch paintings in the show that it was a treat to see.

Time to take a break from painting and watch some T.V.

Have a patting the purring cat day.


Mark Adams said...

Barbara, It never gets any easier showing a client a portrait for the first time. I've been painting portraits for 40 years and I still get nervous. Only once did a get a strange reaction. I painted the sister of a friend for her 50th birthday. She really wasn't keen on the idea, but her husband and brother talked her into it. The portrait was a life sized 3/4 view. I guess being confronted with a full sized image of yourself at 50 can be unsettling. Her reaction was "It's spooky!" - Not what I wanted to hear. Oh well. I only show a commission at an early stage if I am happy with the structure and want reassurance that they will like it before going forward.

Barbara Muir said...

I haven't had a "strange" reaction
yet. Thank goodness. I believe you.
The usual scene is me quaking in my
boots and the client jumping up and down saying "Wow" and thanking me.

That is always a lovely surprise for


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!