Portrait Gift Card
The Portrait gift card is a unique present for a special event or anniversary. Agree a medium, size and price with me, and give the Portrait Gift Card to your sitter for their special day!
This story of two commissions five years apart of the same sitter – and his gift of a portrait to his new partner explains the process of commissioning from life or photos or a mix of the two...
Martin Le Jeune used to be the Director of Public Affairs at Sky when I headed up Sky News Publicity. When he learned of my intention to give up my blackberry for my paintbrush, he said that he would be the first person to commission me. He was true to his word. At the end of my first year of study he contacted me. “Now?”, he asked. I replied, “Not yet”. But by the end of my diploma and the start of my post diploma, I had run out of excuses and agreed to take the plunge and he duly came to my home studio for six sittings of three hours and we caught up on old friends, media issues and generally chewed the fat.
We began by deciding what he would wear, the pose and where the portrait would hang in his home. I then sketched him in charcoal direct on canvas and then moved to a tonal study before laying in the colour. Sometimes I worked on the background in between sittings. Normally he was his cheery self and the portrait painted itself in upbeat colours. But if he came and something was troubling him then it affected the painting. I adjusted his features to the new mood. And so progressed the portrait of a life lived up to that moment until, one day, I put down my paintbrush and knew it was complete. All the time I worked with a mirror behind me, so he could see the work progressing and get used to seeing the face he saw in his own mirror every day, interpreted through an artist's eyes. And then he took it to show his wife to see if she recognised him in it. And reported back that, thankfully, she did!
Five years on he asked me to do two further portraits - one of him and a second of his new parter Anne at their home in my patch - the south east. As Anne decided she would prefer me to work from a selfie she had taken, I made the portrait, partially from life, of Martin much looser in style to the one I had painted before so that they could sit side-by-side comfortably with Anne’s.
2nd portrait of Martin le Jeune by Stella Tooth - one of a pair.
Paired portrait of Martin's partner Anne.