fine art pet portraits by commission
In March 2014 we decided to convert our 20 x 14 foot workshop into a fully functional studio, a place that we could work full time all year round. The workshop is situated in a lovely position in the little wooded area of our garden. It's away from the lane and cottage so it is extremely quiet, so it's perfect for a productive days work as an artist. We had some friendly builders renovate the workshop for us, they insulated from floor to ceiling, laid floorboards and tongue and grove on the walls. They installed a new triple layer felt roof and replaced all windows and the front door with double glazed units. We have a heating system so we are cosy 24/7. It's bliss! If you scroll down you can see see photos of the renovation process along with photos of the inside.
We have created a wonderful work environment for both of us to work in. I use a tilted drawing desk which you can see below. I use a Macbook Pro connected to a monitor for working in the studio, which means I can then take my laptop with me back to the cottage and also work by the fire in a cosy environment.
Nicholas prefers to stand at his easel and I took this photo while he wasn't working so that you can see his work station. He has an oak kitchen trolley which houses all of his paints. Its the perfect height to mix paints, hold his brushes and lay his easel when not in use.
We wanted to create a relaxing area to entertain clients when they visited so devoted one corner of our studio as an entertaining space. It also has our vintage plan chest which holds all of our paper and canvases and doubles up as a packing station too.
The plan chest is also a great place to store paintings and drawings and take photos on them too. The photo below is of me photographing a portrait that headed to France for a dog food packaging label.
Lily has lots of bed in the studio and as you can see this one is by my desk. She will sleep on anything though, if you take off a coat or jumper and lay it on the floor, she will try it out as a bed! Everything is owned by a Tibetan Terrier, you might think its yours, but its not!
Living in Wales we have very long, dark winters. So we have lots of warm lighting in the studio to provide a lovely ambiance and you can see the fairy lights in the photo below. We also have two professional photography lights which are a necessity when taking photos of the artwork, especially where we live. Wales is known for its cold, dark and rainy days, so good lighting is imperative.
When it is spring and summer though and the weather is lovely we take full advantage and have breakfast and lunch out in the garden outside the studio as you can see in the photo below. The trees act as wonderful dappled shade when it gets too warm, the birds and wildlife love them.
Here are a few photos that we took during the renovations, which took approximately 9 weeks from start to finish. The first photo shows the bare bones workshop shed and the first job was to take up the floor and insulate it. The ply wood in the third photo will be going on the ceiling once it has all been insulated.
You can see in the photo below that the insulation is being put on the walls. The tongue and groove was then added.
The central photo shows Lily admiring the work. You can also see the new double glazed windows and a new additional window for light.
We had a new triple layer felt roof and double glazed door installed which you can see below, along with the new windows. It was all getting very exciting at this point and we could start to imagine how it might look when we had finished.
The undercoat is on the walls and the worktops are being prepared and the kitchen area and a sink was being been installed. We varnished the floor about 4 times..almost too good to walk on!
We only use the highest quality materials for our portraits. The materials we use use need to be long lasting, archival and of extreme high quality. This is why we constantly try to source the best materials available to us here in the UK. Nicholas has a good relationship with a very high quality bespoke canvas company here in the UK. Nicholas exclusively uses their Professional Artists Canvases which are made using extra wide stretcher bars with mitred corners, made from Tulipwood (Hardwood) and are stretched with medium grain Italian Linen canvas and fully primed. The canvases are 25mm deep and can be framed in the traditional manor. Alternatively if requested, we can paint the edges and they can be displayed directly on the wall for a more contemporary feel.
I visited Florence Italy in 1993 and bought back with me a selection of papers to experiment with and try. Out of all of the different papers, the Italian Fabriano range was perfect for me. There are quite a few different types of Fabriano, my favourites is an off white, heavy weight, hot pressed variant which has a deckled edge as you can see in the photo below.
I couple this with a variety of brands of pencils by Derwent, Faber Castel and Mars Lumigraph. You can see a few pencils in the photo below, along with a photo of one of my pencil portraits behind too.
Nicholas' brushes and pallet are a very important element to his paintings. Everything is fine tuned to the way he works and paints, even down to his pallet of colours which are very personal and unique to each artist.
Our studio is always busy and we order canvases bespoke for each client. We had just had a delivery of canvases for our next batch of work, so I took a quick snap. There is always something happening in the studio, its never a dull day thats for sure!
We hope that you have enjoyed looking around our studio and if you would like to commission either myself of Nicholas for your own portrait, please do drop us a line at any time. We are very much looking forward to working with you soon.
I opened the portrait (once I got through the bubble wrap!) as soon as I got home on Friday night. It is brilliant! I thought I would know what to expect as I had seen the final stage etc and they were fantastic but the actual portrait exceeded all my expectations. As you know, Naz had to be put to sleep in March and it broke my heart. As daft as it sounds, I feel that he is back with me in a small way when I look at the portrait, so thank you.
Why not visit our pet portraits studio page to see where we create our beautiful paintings and drawings...