I trained as an art teacher when I left school, but then changed direction to move into social work. Art was always a big part of me, but was relegated to a hobby and sideline due to work and family commitments. I eventually decided I wanted to take it more seriously and build up my confidence, so returned to university as a mature student to study for a B.A in Fine Art. I was particularly interested in art history, and which materials and methods were used by famous artists. I graduated from University College, Chester, (then part of Liverpool University), which is now the University of Chester, in 2007. I have been influenced by Old Masters such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt, for their use of chiaroscuro, (light and shade), to recent and contemporary artists such as the late Lucian Freud, and Jonathan Yeo, for the way they capture the essence of their subjects, and how they lay their paint down, which is at times breathtaking.
Portraits have existed for as long as people have been making art. However, historically, only the rich, noble, "important" people with status could afford to pay artists to create images of themselves. They were a way of showing the world how wealthy they were!
This began to change in the 19th century, when art materials became more readily available, and, crucially, with the advent of photography. It's rather tragic to realise that, until then, ordinary people without means had no way of recording their lives in the ways that we can now. We've come a long way since then, from sepia photos in albums right up to the age of Photoshop and the "selfie".
Portraits and photographs don't have to be mutually exclusive, but can serve different purposes. But how many photos do we have stored on our phones, tablets, etc., never to be seen again?
A painted or drawn portrait is a representation of you, your loved one, your pet, etc., at a particular moment in time. As is a photo..........but a portrait is also a work of art, something not everybody else has, and is very personal and individual. It can be the focus of a room. And wonderful as a gift.
In my opinion, every human face is beautiful. I am fascinated by skin tones, contours, and of course eyes, ("the windows of the soul"). And every animal has its own beauty and personality. Your portrait will be undertaken with integrity and sensitivity, and will capture the nuances and characteristics of the subject, whether it is your father, daughter, Labradoodle, rescue cat, or anyone else very dear to you.