Iris, 6 years old, is the youngest of three. Bright, determined, confident, mischievous and with a wonderful mop of hair.
I had drawn Gus’ and Honor’s portraits 5 and 3 years ago, respectively, when they were both 6. So their pastel portraits came back with Iris so that I could have them with me while I drew her.
There are two ways of having your children immortalised on paper/canvas. Either you have them done all at the same time, so representing how they all were, and perhaps related to other at a particular point in time. The second, and most popular, option, is to have them all done at the same age.
If I am drawing or painting siblings this latter way, I always ensure that at least one and ideally all of the previous portraits are brought back to me while I am doing the current one. This ensures that the scale of the portrait stays the same, and that there is a continuity in colours used and general ‘feel’. So producing a set of portraits that have a sense of family about them.
It is fascinating doing these portraits spread out as quite often I meet the older children again over the years when they accompany their younger siblings to the sitting, and can see how much they have changed and grown in the intervening years. And also, getting to spend time in my studio with the older portraits I can see the likenesses and differences between them all emerge under my fingers as I draw the latest one.
Also, it is incredible how fond you become of the parents. I am lucky enough to consider many of the mothers of my subjects very dear friends now. And it is with great sadness, as in this case with the lovely mother Bella, when we finish the last portrait, marking the end of an era. I had a lovely time drawing this portrait and am delighted with the result not just of Iris’ portrait, but also how they work as a three.