years ago than I can remember the Royal Academy Schools that used
to house a strong tradition of figurative painting of the sort
I was drawn to when I was young. Since then, apart from following
other interests outside of painting I have mainly done work to
commission - producing a picture according to some more or less
defined idea supplied by the client. I have particularly enjoyed
longer term relationships with people who start out as clients.
Here is a painting I made of a girl named Bonny Norilling when
she was 4.
this is another I made when she was 13 1/2.
am not sure what effect it had on the final painting but having
been asked to make a posthumous portrait of the poet Ezra Pound,
it seemed important to read a portion of of his poem beforehand.
year I try to produce my own card for Yuletide (Christmas) that
I find a very satisfying way of celebrating the festival
to commission Steadman
most portrait commissions one has some direct likeness to aim at.
In this case, however, I was asked to paint a picture of a distant
ancestor of whom there was no visual record but of whom it was known
he had been made a Portuguese Viscount and had been awarded several
honours. In order to achieve historical accuracy and heraldic propriety,
I had recourse to the sevices of as specialist in such matters.
For the main face, I had recourse, as might be expected to that
of his descendent.
I had a painting in an exhibition for which a catalogue was printed.
Rather than put my C.V next to the image that most other exhibitors
did, I thought that a quote would add something more to the picture.
to yourself in the early morning: " I shall meet today inquisitive,
ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All
these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good
and ill. But because I have seen that the nature of good is the
right and of the ill the wrong and that the nature of the man who
does wrong is akin to my own (not of the same blood but partaking
with me in mind in a portion of divinity), I can neither be harmed
by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong nor can I be
angry with my kinsman; for we have come in this world together like
hands, feet, or the upper and lower teeth to work against one another.
Therefore to oppose nature. A quotation from Marcus Aulrelius (Roman
Emperor). I chose this quotation from one of my favourite religious
philosphers, Marcus Aurelius because it seems to me a noble example
of introspective reflection of the sort that one may benefit from
before embarking upon the trials of the day. And that moment of
early morning meditation before one leaves one's own space and enters
that of the world is perhaps the real subject of the painting -
just as much the man depicted.
commissions, I am always pleased to hear ideas that people have
for pictures as well as to have requests for straight forward portraits
- of people, houses animals or whatever. It is a great stimulus
to work with other people to try to produce something that they
and I would be pleased with. I do not normally accept money until
a picture has been entirely finished and the client is happy. Prices
depend mainly on the time involved. If a person is wearing elaborate
clothes then that would take longer to paint than plain clothes.
Drawings being much more direct are quicker to execute and are I
think an excellent and cheaper alternative to full-scale oil paintings.
As an illustration of my prices, the picture of the man's ancestor
cost £2000. I am very pleased to travel and will not work from photographs
if a commissioner doesn't want me to. It is good to have a large
number of sittings for a portrait but as most people are very busy,
one must be able to make use of whatever time people can give you.