Cat Sutherland

Set upI like people to decide where they are most comfortable being painted. This can be at home, in my studio, or any other location the client chooses. The planning stage usually takes two preliminary meetings - from the perspective of both artist and client, the more time given to the portrait, the better the result - and a minimum of five 2 to 3 hour sittings should be allowed for a small oil painting of a head and shoulders. More for larger paintings, but for charcoal drawings, two to three sittings should suffice.

A portrait is a serious commitment in time so I am as flexible as possible about arranging sittings into tight schedules. It's surprising how easy it is to make the time, and surprising how easily it becomes a welcome oasis in a busy life, as thinking, planning, listening or talking time.

Although photographs can be used as part of the process, I prefer to work from life if at all possible, because there is no doubt that results are always better. However, with young and fidgety children I can work from photographs (preferably taken by me, though I can use favourite family pictures if they meet the criteria) which sometimes helps the process to be less stressful for all concerned!

* * * * *

I completed a foundation course at The Slade in 1992 and spent two years at the Charles Cecil Studio in Florence between 1999 and 2001 studying portraiture, the figure and sculpture from life. I gave my first solo exhibition at the Carlyle Gallery, Old Church Street, Chelsea in September 2002.

Cat Sutherland 2010