Michael’s family


This is a group portrait commissioned by Michael as a gift to his children and grandchildren. Pictured are his late wife and five grandkids. It has taken me an awfully long time to paint. I usually underestimate time needed which means deadlines come and go on a regular basis. Douglas Adams said “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound as they fly by”. But I watched three deadlines whizz past during this one. I completely mistook the sheer amount of content here.
The process;
Photo shoot – this was tricky just for the fact that the kids were young. I kept clicking the shutter through the wee dramas and trusted I got good poses from each, although in different frames.
I was given a photo of gran to make a place for her in the group. Michael sat on the sofa for me to try and get a reaction from any of the children and luckily the boy far left looked over to grandpa.
The boy second left has just lost his bottle of juice and reaches out to get it back. I like the sense of activity this adds to the picture.
Serendipity came into play where I have gran and baby sitting beside one another. The baby’s hand rests on gran’s arm which gives the pair a convincing togetherness.Also, lucky to have a pic of gran turning to her right and first boy looking over. It helps close the group at both ends. The choices and composition is worked out on paint shop pro until I am sure I have everything in place and have nothing to guess over.
I started with a drawing to plan the scaling and positioning. Glad of this, as a couple of things showed up as mistakes before committing to canvas.
I was concerned about colour matching gran to the lighting in the room. Gran’s photo was taken in a photographers studio and the light was so different, almost pure white. Gradual adjustment of the paint colour towards the yellow light of the room took a bit of work.
I could go on with things I found difficult; shirt stripes, shadows, hands, teeth… but then, it shouldn’t be easy, should it?
To get to the endgame, of a painting this complex, was more labour than finesse. Enormous relief that I have brought it to a finished state that I am pleased with, albeit with a few deadlines littering the way.

~ by David Reid on December 2, 2012.

21 Responses to “Michael’s family”

  1. What a touching portrait, lovely.

  2. I think its a magnificent piece of work,David, well done. I share your “challenge” with deadlines πŸ™‚

  3. Excellent piece! It’s alive and beautifully executed. Such a difficult work to pull off, but you did, and did it very well. Congrats!

  4. beautiful…good job David πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Michelle. It’s a shame you probs wont see it as it goes to the framers tomorrow afternoon! Unless you’re around in the morning? Maybe when it comes back though.

  5. which framers is it going to?

  6. Fabulous!

  7. I am amazed at how this all came together. What a wonderful gift you have given to this family.

  8. This came together just beautifully. What a labour of love.

  9. Hi David, Thank you for the viewing of this portrait in your studios, the finished painting is brilliant and a worthy credit to your own style, the frame also enhanced the whole works, so I hope that this brings you further commissions for your future.

    • Hi Stan, Thank you very much for the comments. Glad you liked the painting. Michael took it away yesterday and was very happy with it. Got 3 full size canvas prints for him too. Onwards to the next one! Cheers, David ; and have a nice christmas πŸ™‚

  10. What a massive engagement. And being so beautifully realized. What a sweet memento (on a grand scale) that will be forever treasured by this family.

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