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Renowned Artist: Vanessa Garwood on children's portraits

Posted on March 01, 2017 by Marloe London

Vanessa, a talented artist and experienced portrait painter, lives and works in London. She studied painting and sculpture at Charles Cecil Studios in Florence. She makes work from life on many subjects in different mediums from figurative portraits, nudes, landscapes to bronze sculptures and works on paper.


Vanessa in her studio in West London

Can you tell us a bit about your art... 

I'm interested in painting how I see life - portraits mostly as I find them the most challenging. The variety in people is pretty endlessly fascinating.


Which artists have most inspired you? And, who do you consider to be the greatest portrait painters?

I can be inspired by many things ranging from the colours in a chocolate wrapper to a Velazquez!  He is the tops in my hierarchy of portrait painting.


Velazquez, Infanta Margarita Teresa in Silver Dress, c. 1656

How is painting children different to painting adults? 

I treat them all the same they watch peppa pig, get bribed with sweets and hung upside down by their ankles when they don't sit still.


What has been your favourite portrait you’ve painted and why?

"Molly Whuppie" which I like as it has a dark and strange folk tale behind it and because I nailed it with the brushstrokes.


What is the secret to a great portrait?

It's a bit of a mystery and some magic!  I wish there was more of a formula. 


Is a portrait dependent on the model being in front of you? How do you get a little wriggling child to hold the same position?

For children it's difficult, I do insist on having some life sitting time with them (even if its just in 3 minute bursts for a quick colour study whilst they watch cartoons on my laptop that I position at eye level!) as it's important for me to get to know them a little and get something of their character.


To discuss a commission and for further information on Vanessa's work, please visit vanessagarwood.com



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