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Family Portrait, Bray Head

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Family Portrait, Bray Head. Oil on canvas. 90cm x 70cm, framed. In private collection, Ireland.

I finished this commission in June 2015. The family is standing in front of Bray Head, one of the  most important and beloved landmarks in County Wicklow. The painting was done using five photographs in various poses on a chilly spring day in front of Bray Head, and as I had never met any of the family members (it was a surprise gift for them), the painting was really a process of getting to know them, as individuals and as a group.

It was also a challenge for me, as I usually do portraits directly from life, as much as possible. Additionally, there was a positive process of touching base and negotiating with the commissioners at various points, as the painting progressed.

Being my first multiple portrait, it gave many interesting challenges to the artistic process. The format is in portrait instead of landscape format, which I used to give a strong visual focus on the group in front of the main section of Bray Head. I also tried to show the beauty of the sea, sky and the hill, while keeping the focus on the family.