Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bubbles and Butterflies Commission Completed!

Lets take a step back in time for a moment..
January 2011: Sarah Chadwick, Rebecca de Mendonca and I were hosting our 'Inspiring Visions' exhibition in Bourne Hall, Ewell Village.
I was approached by friends who asked if I would paint their two daughters as faeries in my fantasy style. I loved the idea. We discussed various ideas and eventually organised a photoshoot in Richmond Park on a beautiful sunny day last August, 2011.
Initially the idea was to create two separate faery portraits which would go next to each other on the landing wall in their home. I took various photos (the girls helped me and we found faery doors in the trees, they posed with handfuls of acorns, had fun on the swings and ended the day with icecream sugar rushes and lots of running and giggling!)

When I looked through the photos, the most natural, interesting ones were not of them posing but running, carefree as children are, with huge grins on their faces.
So it was agreed that a double portrait it would be and in October half term 2011, I began the portrait which I knew would become my last maiden name piece. In amongst school holidays, weekends and wedding planning I would enter my spare room and embark on my masterpiece. (My husband refers to it as 'my' spare room as I have single-handedly filled it with art stuff and he only ever goes in there to do the ironing!)

I have predominantly worked in watercolours for the last ten years. Getting back into oils is like discovering a long lost friend. The smell, the application and texture of the paint, the possibilities for layering you don't get with watercolours... Ooooh it is delicious! Whenever I could, I would spend a whole weekend working away. I would often find myself getting so absorbed into it that hours would pass, so engaged that I would lose all care for the concept of time. A lovely, therapeutic feeling.

So here we are, nearly a year and a half since the first conversation, a year since the photoshoot and 10 months since I began the painting, it is finally finished.
Like a lot of women I am sure, it's an odd concept to change your name. I find it exciting, sad and a little peculiar all at the same time. In future I will be creating artwork as a Hayward, not a Richards. This painting is the last piece I have created predominantly as a Richards and I feel very proud that it represents the years of work, practise and dedication I've put into my art.
I don't claim to be an amazing artist. When I look at the world of artists out there who inspire me I know I still have huge amounts to learn and develop in my style and technique.
Most importantly though, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to draw, paint and create. It's an essential part of me that feels a bit like an additional limb, I can't imagine my life without it. So, the Two Little Pixies are my final 'Richards' masterpiece.
Thank you girls, for making it so special.

Below is a video of the process of creating 'Two Little Pixies - Bubbles and Butterflies'

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