This is the second portrait for this client. He previously commissioned a painting of the Museum Building in Trinity College Dublin. This portrait is of his wife who graduated last autumn. She doesn’t have an official photograph taken of her at the graduation ceremony, so her husband wanted to gift her a surprise portrait of this special day to commemorate her achievement. The painting was based on a photograph of her and her friend. I removed her friend from the image together with the busy background to set Tamara in a plain background that would offset her warm skin tones.

a portrait painting of a graduate
Tamara in graduation attire, 35 x 25 cm, acrylic on stretched canvas

The painting is 25 x 35 cm in size. I worked with acrylics on thin edge (1.8 cm) canvas. The first step was to put down the initial sketch with a mixture of yellow ochre and venetian red. I then worked to colour block the entire portrait, followed by numerous layers of paint. I worked to keep the painting fresh and interesting and I hope I achieved this. The subtle accents of cerulean blue (my favourite colour these days) were worked into the skin too to create a balance of warm and cool.

family portrait
Tamara in graduating attire, detail

The client was delighted with the result:

Hi Ivana, it is very nice thank you. Tamara will not be expecting it.

Aonghus, dublin