Eleanor and Edward

Eleanor sat for her portrait when she was six years old. Sat isn't entirely accurate, as I did a number of sketches of her watching TV, but she did sit long enough for me to complete a drawing and to take a number of photographs.

Edward's portrait was done some three years later, when Edward was roughly the same age as his sister Eleanor had been when hers had been done. He, too, found sitting still rather taxing, as is natural for his age, but I took a large number of photographs using a didgital camera from which we were able to agree a final pose.

Edward tends to smile and laugh a lot, but when his face falls into repose he looks as serious as a Roman Senator. If a laugh can be caught with a very rapid technique it might work, but I think a laugh painted from a photograph would look artificial and not right for a painting. There are important differences between photographic and painted portraits: the speed of the shutter captures a moment for good or ill, whereas a painting is a record over time. In any case, I went for the Roman Senator look for this portrait.


Eleanor 1997. Edward 2000. Oil on board. The inner parts of each frame, including the name labels, are painted and are actually flat.

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All images copyright 2001 Martin Dace