Commissions

On Painting the Royal Regatta – Peter Graham ROI talks to us about his commissioned artwork

In December the Annual Exhibition for the Royal Institute of Oil Painters returns to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Peter Graham ROI about his commision for Henly Royal Regatta.


An artlover with a special interest in the Henley Royal Regatta wanted to commission a series of paintings of the prestigious rowing event. 

Royal Institute of Oil Painters member Peter Graham was chosen for the project, as the client was familiar with his colourful style having seen several of his works over the years at various UK exhibitions.

The client loved Peter’s previous paintings of reflections and harbour subjects, and wanted to incorporate this feature into their commissioned piece. The general concept behind the project was to capture the excitement and energy of the Regatta more than the precise detail of the winning rowing team. 

Peter Graham ROI painting at the Henley Royal Regatta

On the day of the race, Peter worked on the banks of the River Thames, which allowed him to clearly see the pavilion and winning line, as well as all the observing boats. Knowing he would have to work very quickly, he selected watercolour for his medium in order to capture the fleeting moments at high speed. 

The Henley Regatta by Peter Graham ROI

The result was a dynamic and brilliantly colourful series of four watercolour paintings, which vividly depict the skimming of the boats in their team colours and surrounding spectators. Peter’s fluid and atmospheric style fulfilled the brief perfectly, and both sides of the commission process were very pleased with the outcome.

Winning Line at the Henley Regatta by Peter Graham ROI

So what’s next for Peter? He is currently working on a commissioned painting of the King’s Troop at the official entrance to St James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace in Whitehall. It was requested that he keeps to his own characteristic style and trademark colour scheme, so the artwork will be as colourful as the last.

In situ painting that inspired the next commission: Sandhurst Parade by Peter Graham ROI was made at Sandhurst Military Academy


By commissioning an artwork, you have the chance to capture a favourite event or place in a painting. Through the Mall Galleries commissions consultancy, you will be able to engage in direct conversation with the artist, personalising your experience – and, as a result, will be able to create something incredibly special.

Wildlife Artist Jill Moger discusses her Commissions

Jill Moger SWLA - Crocodile Bag

At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Jill Moger SWLA about her private commissions.



Sculptor and lover of reptiles and amphibians, self-taught artist Jill Moger SWLA creates ceramic artworks depicting a variety of cold-blooded wildlife. She was commissioned by a collector in her hometown, who requested a rather unusual and amusing piece.

The playful sculpture she created shows a baby crocodile sitting snugly inside a crocodile-skin handbag. The style is typical of Jill’s work, with an earthy colour scheme and intricate, lustred scales on both crocodile and bag. A second similar piece was commissioned by someone in London.

Jill Moger SWLA, Crocodile Bag

With this particular commissioned artwork, a serious point about animal conservation underpins the concept behind Crocodile Bag: the live animal is so much better to see live in the wild than any fashion accessory made with its skin.

The people who approach Jill for commissions range from reptile experts to wildlife enthusiasts or anyone who simply likes the look of her work. She says she was particularly thrilled when her sculpture of the rare Tuatara lizard was bought by a professor working at the Natural History Museum, after falling in love with it at an exhibition.

For her source of inspiration, Jill visits numerous zoos, sanctuaries and private collections of reptiles, and owns an extensive book collection of photographic reference on such wildlife. With sculptures of iguanas being the most popular commission request, Jill’s subject matter largely comprises of reptiles. However, she does not limit herself to this sole group of species and has also created sculptures of coral reefs and insects. Jill is passionate for the protection of all these species, some of which are endangered due to the destruction of their habitat and illegal poaching. 

Jill Moger SWLA, Crocodile Bag

Interviewed by Jessica Baxter



An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

Image credit

Jill Moger SWLA

Diary Page Painting: A Day in the Life of a Commissioned Artist

At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Fran Giffard about her private commissions.


Fran Giffard is an artist whose works have a distinctly original medium: her vibrant watercolour and aquarelle paintings of birds fill the used pages of Moleskine diaries. Presenting a glimpse of the artist’s daily life, brief diary entries – shopping lists, personal reminders, day schedules – can be read alongside the brilliantly coloured images of wildlife, making Fran’s work unforgettably unique.

She says it all started almost accidently one Christmas, when she received a Moleskine sketchbook as a present. Worried by the thought of ruining the luxurious pages, she decided to practise on her Moleskin diary, as the pages were similar in texture and had the same natural fluidity as a sketchbook. She began drawing, and her characteristic style was born.

Fran often undertakes commissions from people who request an artwork on a specific date of a diary page. This chosen date could be a birthday, an anniversary, or the National Day of a particular country: typically something important to the individual. Fran says her work certainly taps into sentimentality around special days of the year because of the medium she works on.

Based in South London, Fran normally works from books and photographic material of wildlife, as much of her subject matter comprises of tropical birds that do not inhabit the British Isles. However, during a recent trip to Reunion Island, she was able to get up close to such birds and draw from direct observation. She chooses a particular species according to the size available on a double page spread of an old diary

With every piece she creates, Fran tries to impart her distinctive creative style to all her paintings. Commissioning an artwork on something as imaginative as a diary page creates something both aesthetic and personalised to the individual. 

Interviewed by Jess Baxter

 


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

Image credit

Fran Giffard, Gouache on Moleskine

Commissioned Ship Portrait Accepted by Museum

With the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition returning to Mall Galleries in October, we spoke to John Lines RSMA about his commission pieces for the shipping company Hellespont, one of which was recently donated to the International Maritime Museum Hamburg, Germany.


The world-renowned International Maritime Museum in Hamburg, Germany, is the new home to a commissioned portrait of a ship by Royal Society of Marine Artists member, John Lines. 

Nestled amongst the three thousand years of shipping history, the painting Stückgutfrachter, Cavala is now displayed alongside 40,000 maritime items held at the private collection in Hamburg. Depicting a snapshot of contemporary life at sea, the painting of the dynamic, busy port will act as historical and educational reference for future museum-goers.

The artwork in question was initially commissioned by Basil Papachristidis, then CEO of the global marine company Hellespont Shipping. Dr Papachristidis had approached Mall Galleries asking for an artist specialising in maritime subjects and wanted to commission a series of 21 paintings of multiple vessels built by the firm to decorate the company’s offices all over the world.

The Mall Galleries commissions consultancy saw Royal Society of Marine Artists member John Lines as the ideal artist for this commission, as John has many years of experience in painting ships and other related naval subjects. 

Hellespont were looking for technical accuracy and clarity, and John’s detailed final artworks fulfilled the brief. Both sides of the commission were extremely happy with the outcome, with Dr Papachristidis naming John the “perfect artist” for the job.

What started off as a commission request from a company resulted in a much-loved painting being donated to a distinguished international museum. Commissioned artwork commemorates and celebrates the journey a company or individual makes, and being able to personalise the experience through the consultants at the Mall Galleries makes an artwork all the more special.

Written by Jessica Baxter 

Images from the Hellespont Commission

Paramont

Harvey

An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.



If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.  

Image credit

Cavala, John Lines RSMA

Antarctic Adventure

At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Bruce Pearson SWLA about his upcoming trip to the Falkland Islands this November.


Society of Wildlife Artists member Bruce Pearson has, for the third year running, been invited by One Ocean Expeditions to visit the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula to be their Artist in Residence.

Taking place in November later this year, this unique opportunity will allow Bruce to sketch and paint the Antarctic wildlife in their natural habitat, as well as the dynamic icy landscape. He will also be offering fellow passengers the chance to join him and spend a few peaceful hours working on their own sketches of the surroundings.

Onboard artists admiring their surroundings

The area is incredibly biodiverse, with wildlife such as penguins, whales, albatrosses and seals, many of which are critically endangered species. One Ocean Expeditions are a company committed to the conservation and sustainability of such wildlife in the places they visit by taking measures to reduce waste and emissions.

Page from Bruce’s sketchbook from his earlier trip

Bruce himself is familiar with drawing endangered species en plein air. Last year he travelled to Bermuda following up his Troubled Waters bird conservation project to look at the rare Bermuda Petrel.

Bruce hopes to develop his own work while in the Antarctic

Despite holding the record for being the coldest place on earth, Antarctica and its subzero weather conditions are not a worry to Bruce, as they should not pose any artistic challenges to the onboard artists. Bruce says paints tend not to freeze on the palette, as one might expect, due to the salt in the marine air and warmer summer temperatures.

Interviewed by Jess Baxter


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

Industrial Docks Commission

Interviewed by Jess Baxter


With the Royal Society of Marine Artists  Annual Exhibition returning to Mall Galleries in October, we spoke to Ronny Moortgat RSMA about his commission pieces for Verbeke Bunkering.


Verbeke Bunkering, a marine company situated in Antwerp, Belgium, wanted to decorate their head office with a series of artworks. They wished to commission a piece by someone with specialist experience in painting maritime structures. 

The company chose Ronny Moortgat RSMA for this project, a seascape painter who had worked on a previous commission for Verbeke. They gave him a very general brief, requesting a depiction of the company’s marine structures on the river, which includes various piping, tankards and scaffolding.

Ronny enjoys the freedom of notably open briefs such as this one, as it allows him to play with his own ideas of tone and media. Upon visiting the company’s site, Ronny made a few preliminary sketches and took photographs for lighting reference, which were brought back to his warehouse studio where he began work on three paintings.

As sailboats and ships on water are usually the focus of his artwork, this static industrial subject matter took Ronny’s paintings in a relatively different direction. Yet this didn’t detract from his enjoyment in the task; he says that putting his creative spirit into something new and different is what makes being a commissioned artist so interesting.

If they wished, the group were able to personalise small details in the paintings as Ronny’s work took shape. And, three months after the project began, the three paintings were completed. The clients were incredibly happy with the result and, being able to experiment with a different maritime subject, Ronny was also pleased. 


An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

Fishscape Memorial

At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Harriet Mead PSWLA, President of the Society, about her commission pieces for a dairy farm in East Sussex.


The owners of a organic dairy farm in East Sussex decided to commemorate their employee, Dave, who had suddenly died of cancer, by commissioning a memorial artwork.

The group chose Harriet Mead PSWLA, an artist who specialises in creating sculptures of wildlife from steel and found objects, and gave her an open brief to craft a memorial piece to remember Dave by. Visiting the dairy farm allowed Harriet to gain further insight into the employees’ vision. They requested a sculpture based on the hobby that Dave loved – fishing – and, after receiving a budget to work with, Harriet soon built upon this idea that would result in her latest commission piece, Fishscape.

Harriet Mead PSWLA, Fishscape - The distinctive S shape where the ribbons of metal are attached to forms the base of the sculpture

Harriet doesn’t draw her ideas first; she prefers to jump right in and find her materials that she recycles from old tools. As well as metals sourced elsewhere, the artist incorporated the old tools that she had found on the farm to reflect the landscape the sculpture would reside in. A miniature of an Archimedes’ Screw, a piece of farming equipment used regularly in fodder feeding systems, is visible twirling through the body of the pike.

Sculptures of the 5 species of fish that were in the final sculpture

By this visual combination of agricultural labour and art, Harriet gave the farm a sentimental memorial to commemorate the life of a well-loved employee in the place he worked. It also generated a buzz on social media, leading to fishermen from both the UK and America inquiring where they could buy such a piece, which is only available through commission.

Harriet Mead PSWLA, Fishscape (Detail) Visible Archimedes’ Screw through the body of the pike

An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

By Jess Baxter

All photos by Jody Lawrence.

Image credit

Harriet Mead PSWLA, Fishscape

A Barn Owl in Watercolour

Barn Owl by Simon Turvey Image for Commission Wildlife Art blog post

We were recently approached by a client who had seen and fallen in love with a work by Simon Turvey SWLA which had sold before she could purchase it. Commissioning an artwork allows art lovers to purchase a painting in a similar vein to one that they might have missed out on buying in the gallery. However it adds something to that experience too. It is a chance to have a conversation with the artist, to be involved in the creative process, to reflect on what it is that you love about their work. 

In this case our client, Christine Down, was particularly drawn to Simon's Barn Owl watercolours.  Commissioning Simon to paint a further work in this genre allowed the artist to revist these beautiful birds and brought Christine's interests into the equation.

Christine Down said:

"The Commissions Service at Mall Galleries put me in touch with Simon who accepted my commission for a barn owl.  The watercolour he produced is an amazingly realistic study of a barn owl sitting on a branch and is beautifully painted.  Commissioning a picture from the artist makes it very special."

Simon Turvey painting Barn Owl

Naval Commissions

 

Royal Society of Marine Artists member Rowena Wright was commissioned to paint HMS Trumpterer for Cdr Tim Henry RN, currently the commanding Officer of HMS Ocean. 

HMS Trumpeter is an Archer-class P2000-type patrol and training vessel of the British Royal NavyTrumpeter is assigned to Cambridge University Royal Naval Unit, having previously acted as the training ship for the Bristol University Royal Naval Unit.

She served in the Gibraltar Squadron alongside Ranger commencing 1991 under commanding officer Lieutenant Richard Morris. With Ranger she was deployed on the Thames for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant to assist in security and partake in the pageant. She also assisted in security for the 2012 London Olympics.

This is the third ship to carry the name HMS Trumpeter. It was built by Watercraft, launched 1986, completed by Vosper-Thorneycroft Sep-1988, and commissioned 1988. It was deployed to Gibralter Squadron until August 2003, then assigned to Bristol University, University Royal Navy Unit but still took part in the Trafalgar 200 Fleet Review.


Text by Carmel Shayle

Image credit

Rowena Wright RSMA, HMS Trumpeter, Oil on canvas, 80x50cm

Top Ten Portrait Painters 2015

Robbie Wraith RP, Burlesque, Oil, 117 x 168 cm, POA

The Top Portrait painters this year are Phoebe Dickinson, Robbie Wraith and Keith Breeden.

The current Top Ten portrait painters are Phoebe Dickinson, Robbie Wraith, Keith Breeden, Brendan Kelly, Frances Bell, Paul Brason, Anthony Connolly, David Cobley, Valeriy Gridnev and Toby Wiggins.

Keith Breeden RP, Professor Lord Krebs of Wytham, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, Oil, 100 x 90 cm, NFS

These are the artists who received the most enquiries at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries. This is a showcase for contemporary portraiture with over 200 works on show comprising work by 42 eminent members and the 87 non-member artists who entered the best works through the open submission.

Phoebe Dickinson, Carson on Set at Highclere Castle, Oil, 35 x 18 cm, NFS

Interestingly Phoebe Dickinson, - whose tiny portrait of Carson, the character from the television series ‘Downton Abbey’, - attracted much attention, is the only non-member artist on this list but she is the one who received the most enquiries. Phoebe started training in Florence at Charles H Cecil Studios, Lavender Hill Studios practicing printmaking at the Prince’s Drawing School and Heatherly's School of Fine Art.

Valeriy Gridnev and Keith Breeden often vie for first and second place but this year two of Valeriy Gridnev’s major works were held up by the paperwork required by customs on their way over from Russia and did not reach the gallery in time for the show.

Valeriy Gridnev RP, Guitarist, Oil, 66 x 105 cm, NFS

Many of the people enquiring are considering commissioning a portrait so hopefully the artists will enjoy patronage over the coming months and years as well as accolade.

For anybody who missed the show and would like to commission a portrait all is not lost; I am available throughout the year by appointment!

Annabel Elton

Head of Commissions



More works from the Top Ten Portrait Painters

All works were exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2015

Paul Brason RP, Sir Alan Battersby, Oil, 97 x 107 cm, NFS

David Cobley RP NEAC, Neil Osborn, Oil, 97 x 127 cm, NFS

Anthony Connolly, Annunziata, Oil, 50 x 40 cm, NFS

Brendan Kelly RP, Fabio, Acrylic, 100 x 112 cm, £8,500

Toby Wiggins RP, Guy Bamford at Dunshay Studio, Oil, 135 x 85 cm, NFS

Francis Bell Assoc RP, Self Portrait (Part 1, 2, and 3), Oil, 53 x 58 cm

Image credit

Robbie Wraith RP, Burlesque (detail), Oil, 117 x 168 cm, POA