How it's done

Liz Hewitt's portraits are full of fun and colour and include details and features personal to the people who have commissioned the work.

A. Behind those details are hours of careful and diligent research, identifying the subjects closest to the client's heart, understanding the way they wish to be seen, their aspirations, interests and achievements.

Some clients ask for business premises to be central to a portrait, for others the emphasis is the family home, a much-loved location or vehicles, hobbies or pets. 

B. As the number of features included in the work determines the time Lizzy will take to complete the piece and the fee charged (see Commissions for fee information), it's essential at this early stage to identify just who and what are to be the central focus.

Once the number of characters and features (for clarification see Commissions) and the size of the picture are fixed, a contract will be drawn up between Lizzy and the client, stating when payments are due, when the picture will be completed together with the dates of two draft approvals.

At each approval stage and on completion the client will be asked to sign off the work to ensure continued mutual understanding and agreement.

C. Lizzy will ask what colours the client wishes to have included or excluded from the final portrait. Clients often have favourites or shades they dislike, and the piece may also have to fit with a particular colour scheme.

Clothes are also discussed; are much-loved or favourite items to be included? Should club or uniforms be shown, or aspirational accessories? Are special occasions, weddings or nights out to be remembered? Clients can have strong views and Lizzy is open to ideas!

D. Once the commission is agreed, Lizzy will visit the location to take research photos and/or be sent images in the post or by email. Clearly a site visit is preferable but it isn't essential. All settled? Now the sketching begins.

As work progresses, the central characters and overall appearance of the composition become clearer. Once these are developed first stage approval is sought from the client.

E.The full composition is now developed to the scale of the final portrait. Smaller features are inserted. Colour begins to be applied, initially in cloudy background, working towards greater precision and clarity.

As the elements come together, the final picture begins to emerge and the client is invited to approve the second, final, draft. 

(Artificially coloured)
F. Watercolour paper stretches so the image cannot be painted directly onto the surface. Instead a tracing is made of the image and applied to the watercolour paper. Ink and colour are added and the picture is complete!

Although her exhibited sale work is framed, Lizzy is not responsible for mounting or framing commissioned portraits. She is happy to advise, however, and will gladly put clients in touch with expert framers. Shipping can also be arranged.

Prints, posters, business cards, greetings cards, postcards, boxes, banners & almost any other printed product can be created to feature the artwork once a commission is complete. In recent months Lizzy's paintings have been copied for use in house sale particulars, business reports, on websites, party invitations & CD covers & liner notes.

Pics from top:
Early sketch for Indy's hair salon, commission, 2008
Development sketch for Lumbers the jewellers, commission, 2009
Assembly-stage sketch for 'A Right Royal Street Party', 2012
Tracing (artificially coloured) for Anne Davies family commission, 2011