Tagged: Portraits

Itching x


I’m meant to be doing something else today, so of course all I can think of is painting faces.  Weird, wonderful faces with many loose lines yet inherent simplicity.  They should play with media – the sharpness of a black pen against the contrast of chalk pastels, spreading on the wind, sitting on a solid flick of acrylic with the wobble of a lead pencil.  The colours should be muddy, yet poignant – diluted pinks, distilled greys, a touch of yellow, a hint of blue.  The back doors should be open with the sun shining, a cool breeze, music quietly playing – Maurice Ravel’s Deau Melodies heraiques sung by Victoria de los Angeles  – and a strong cup of tea in a flat bottomed chine cup at one degree above blood temperature.

Until then, I’ll just eat the inspiration.

Laters, Kate x

Kai x


I have a thing about faces and love portraits: That moment captured in time..the emotion caught forever. This artist – Kai Samuels-Davis seems to have an absolute instinct for committing to canvas impossibly transient sentiment and creating paintings that both emerge and disappear.

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He lives with his wife in the small and beautiful coastal town of Jenner, just 70 miles north of San Francisco  – and the peace and calm of his surroundings seeps into his work. They’re grounded and real.

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In the dream house that lives in my head, I have several on the walls…there’s also a studio where I can pretend to be him..

Laters, Kate x



 From this..


To this..I finally finished it last night.  I wanted the colours to be stronger, the contrasts greater, more representative of Sam alive than as a memory – I felt I was being a bit careful, almost precious before.  Little things have been added – there’s roses in her hairband, and the red of her lips was from a picture of Kate Moss in a red see-through dress, her nose smoothed out.   But it’s all a balance – I’m now looking at her eyebrows thinking there’s a big contrast between the black of the first picture and this one.  But that could be the different light and the camera as I haven’t changed them, possibly the photo sucking in the matt density of the paint rather than the charcoal – her face also looks whiter, except it isn’t..however I can’t control the urge  to go and check all these points out…sometimes the hardest thing is knowing when to stop..

Laters, Kate x

P.S. More information about the history of this picture here.

Weekend Wanderings..


On Saturday Fairy, Bella and I headed to Shoreditch to the Jumble and Pearls vintage and more sale at the Book Club. (A fab cafe in it’s own right with loads going on…and it’s own table tennis table..)


Shoreditch is an eclectic, buzzing, creative, urban area with stories and something different round every corner.  Looking with eyes wide open is a must.


(I was thinking of you, Su..loved the retro letters..)


Opposite the light shop was this fairytale-like Reclamation Yard…we were immediately sidetracked (it doesn’t take much..).  Set in an old church it was like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia…..

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 I didn’t think so much space existed in central London…

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In my dreams this old French haberdashery unit is pride of place in my kitchen holding bowls and plates..and anything else..

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 We were at Jumble and Pearl to see my wonderful cousin Nathalie (her story here) and see her new merchandise for Sam Says Enjoy Life.

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(My sister swears by these bibs and is always being asked where she got them from)


I also had Bella’s portrait drawn by the lovely Jenny Robins.


I’ve always fancied having a wall of framed ‘street art’ portraits of the kids, drawn across the years, seen with different eyes and marking their growth into adults.


Jenny has said she’ll help, so this is the first one…I like to think the finished collection will be like an Installation in it’s own right..


We headed home, very happy with my purchase from Nathalie – one of her new up-cycled denim bags, perfect to hold in style the daily detritus I manage to accumulate and lug around.


 I particularly like the pockets..that little bit of embroidery is heaven.

Laters, Kate x

Still Time!

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Which should be the title of these beauties – the classically posed family portraits of old.  And they’re providing further inspiration for my Seven Every Day Sins project (see previous post)..thinking aloud…the temptation is with the potential resources at hand to plan fantasy, surreal, out of this world..but I think maybe that’s too easy/obvious?..I’m thinking that at initial glance things should appear relatively normal.  It’s then the clues that give the meaning…

Take portrait no.2 – a dreamy pose.  But have 2 women instead, the one standing up is wearing green with a spider clip nestled in her hair.  The lady sitting down is wearing designer black, dripping in jewels…and the symbols of mourning..black ribbon, Victorian jet jewellery. There could be a handbag open with more clues..Behind them on the wall is a portrait – maybe of a child – or maybe a still life of flowers? roses, carnations, chrysanthemums all have different meanings depending on their colour.. to the side an old fashioned clock with a moth clinging to the side.  The wallpaper is made up of pasted fifty pound notes. (verging on the too surreal?) The lady in green has her eye closed…but the lids are painted to look like they’re open. Neither are smiling.

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They do say the eye are the windows to the soul…

If you haven’t done so already there’s still time to vote (it goes without saying – a huge thank you if you have!).. the link to the competition site works straight through if you are signed into Facebook, if you’re not it takes you to ‘sign in’ and then the general website.  If you end up at the general website, go to photography – trending – and look for the only orange picture(!) called ‘Seven photos of Every Day Sin in Modern Times’ and click on that…. you’ll see the full application/film and the ‘support’ button on the right hand side….

All you’ve done – all you’ve tried to do is really appreciated xxx

Laters, Kate x

Moments in Time x


There’s one New Years Resolution I’ve slam dunked..I’ve embraced growing younger gracefully by going back to school.


Each week I’ve been studiously at my desk at Putney School of Art learning properly about Photography…and I’ve loved it.


It’s not that I didn’t like the photos I was taking..I just didn’t really know how I was doing it and whether I could do it better. A bit like our brains or computers, we now have these incredible beasts of cameras that we rarely take out of first gear..


Thinking about short term, long term, quality, light, composition…it’s such a peaceful place away from the clamour of family life and I have thoroughly appreciated the time to think of nothing else other than the moment.


Some of these photos were taken on a field trip we did as a class around the streets of London, others are from my beautiful nieces christening last weekend.

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Watching for a photo is like waiting for little pockets of opportunity.  Often I think – if only they’d look up.  But then the sweet spot happens and it’s like the nectar of the Gods.

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Is the process getting something right? Or does it go beyond that? All I know is that to break the rules, you first have to know them..and that learning as an adult is the best drug ever.

Laters, Kate x