Posted on

‘Family Portrait Painting Series’ Background.

The Story behind the Family Portrait Paintings Series

During the 2020 UK lockdown, access to portrait sitters and reference became limited. I had completed many self portraits and was looking for a new series to fulfil my creative itch. The Family Portrait Painting series developed following a study of my Mum, and the notion ‘could I paint all the close members of my family’. I knew I wanted them all to be the same size and format, hence the 10 x 12 inch boards.

About 8 -9 paintings in I had the thought that I could group all the images together on a large format panel. I liked the fact that some of the paintings are less finished than others. Sacrificing some likenesses for more interesting paint application and freshness.

This is how I imagine the Family Portrait Painting Series to be grouped:

Family portrait grouping

Posted on

Portrait Artist of the Year Advice On SKY ARTS Painting Competitions

Portrait Artist of the Year Advice On SKY ARTS Painting Competitions


Portrait Artist of the Year Advice for Entering

So you want to show the world your Art ability, on Portrait Artist of the Year or Landscape Artist of the Year, to validate all the long hours you spend practicing. Sounds like a no brainer entering one of these competitions, to do just that. But wait here are a few things you should take on board first, when considering your entry;

I have had the pleasure of being on the show 4 times. Twice on Landscape Artist of the year (2016 & 2018) and twice on Portrait Artist of the year (2014 & 2020). Needles to say I didn’t win (but I am not bitter).

Setting aside the fact I lost 4 times, I did gain a lot of experience of the filming, interview, and setup process. Because of this I would like to share a few thoughts with you in the hope that you might do better than I did when your chance comes along:

1.  Prepare for lots of questions. Because you will be asked them.

2. Portrait Artist of the Year is more stressful to compete in .

3. If you are lucky enough to get onto ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ be prepared to have some form of device to work from, because the lighting is blinding and working direct from the model extremely hard.

4. ‘Landscape Artist of the Year’ was most enjoyable, because it was less pressured and more creative.

5. Be prepared for a long lead up to the actual painting (3 hrs of interviews & waiting around in the morning. With the same again after you stop Painting in the afternoon)

6. Both are very tiring, so have someone drive you home after.

7. You do not need all your Art materials, because ‘Cass Art’ sponsor the event and there are several materials you can use on set.

8. Enjoy the day. You have a 1 in 7/8 chance of winning the heat and I feel this is also dependant on the winners of other heats. (but this just my opinion.)

Final Thoughts

Taking part in this show is a great experience, but not one you should take,  if you are not confident in your abilities. Because there is a lot going on, not just the painting and you need to be able to handle the interruptions and pressure of the day.  But if you can do this and produce a winning piece you stand a great chance of taking your Art career to the next level so Good Luck…!

Posted on


The Art of getting the portrait painting you want

5 Top tips from artist Stewart Beckett to get the best oil painting.

Art Portrait Painting Advice

Buying Art is an emotional process, that speaks to your inner self. This is true of Portraiture also, but with an added twist. A portrait painting says something about the sitter that photography can sometimes lack or miss. In an oil portrait painting the hand of the artist sculpts and moulds the paint to recreate the beauty and character of life. Its aim is not to be a perfect photographic representation but to offer the viewer an insight into the character of the subject. Through colour, texture, energy, and form, the paint breaths life at the hands of the artist to create something of beauty that did not exist before. A work of art that can be cherished and passed down through the family for generations.

To get the most out of this process I have some top tips of things to consider when you want to commission a contemporary Portraiture artist.

My 5 Top Tips

Art Portrait Painting Advice

Tip 1. Collaborate on ideas and vision – Artists take many years to study, practice and hone their skills. However, at no point during this study do they master mind reading. So, it is important to have a good discussion at the out set of what you want for the portrait and to try and take onboard ideas that the artist will have. Ultimately the end result will be the artist interpretation of your vision, but you must allow for artistic license in order to get a work that is fresh, interesting and depicts the subject in the best way possible.

Tip 2. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes – Portrait paintings can take a long time to complete, depending on the number of sitters etc. It is always a good idea to get an update or even better view the painting in progress. This will allow for a conversation that can avoid many hours and delay to the painting if it was not to your liking.

Tip 3. Be realistic on how much time you can spare to sit for the painting – Many Portrait painters can work from photographs. Its never as good as having the person in front of you but allows for progress on a painting when you are not available. From the outset discuss your availability and the location of the sittings. (Normally this will incur some expenses that will be added to the quote for travel and accommodation if the sittings are not at the artists studio)

Tip 4. Time scales – A lot of work goes into creating the finished painting, normally there are some initial head studies, drawings, colour studies etc before the actual final paintings begins. All this takes time so I would recommend allowing 3-6 months for the final piece.

Tip 5. Payment – As a sign of good faith and trust in the artist a 20-30% deposit would be recommended at the outset. Following that another 20 -30 % payment after the first viewing or halfway through the process. With the remainder payable on delivery. It is always a good idea to discuss with the artist framing of the final piece, as they normally have good relations with framers.