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Sophie Haythornthwaite

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Portfolio for Sophie Haythornthwaite - Commissionaportrait

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Birth date   05/03/1971
Introduction   BIOGRAPHY  
Sophie received her technical training in Florence, Italy, where she studied the portrait painting techniques of the old masters at Charles H Cecil studios.  
Now based in Avalon Beach, Sydney, Australia, she continues to paint using the traditional methods and materials of the Italian, French and Dutch painters of the renaissance and baroque.  
Sophie uses high quality painting materials that she prepares herself in her studio, grinding her own pigments and preparing her own canvases, mediums, and varnishes using traditional methods and recipes. Not only does this practice allow for a more complete control over the performance and quality of one's materials, it also enables the artist to achieve specific painterly effects used by the masters, the subtleties of which are often difficult to achieve using synthetic modern materials.  
Sophie offers offer many options for commissioned portraiture, from her special interest, child portraiture, to portraits of individuals, couples and families, to special occasion portraits such as pregnancy, christening, graduation, engagement, wedding, anniversary and 21st or other significant birthday portraits.  
Sometimes the desire for a portrait is as simple and beautiful as the wish to preserve the image of a cherished face at a special age.  
Also offered are the full range of official portrait options. Corporate and business/professional portraits, judicial, medical, academic, armed forces and government portraits; portraits of religious leaders or leaders in the fields of science, politics, philanthropy and the arts.  
Sophie is also able to offer posthumous portraits, working from photographs and the verbal/written memories of friends and family to create a portrait in remembrance of someone who has passed on.  
Old master copies and Renaissance style portraits are other options.  
If the client has a favorite painting of any subject from art history, Sophie will endeavour to not only provide as exact a copy as possible, but also to replicate the actual paint techniques and materials of the original.  
Some of Sophie's clients request portraits of themselves or their children in a 'Renaissance style', a contemporary portrait in an art historical pose and costume.  
Ancestral or 'heirloom' portraits can be re created from old photographs, or copies can be made of old and sometimes lost or damaged family paintings.  
On the less formal side, Sophie has a special interest in portraits inspired by history or mythology, so if you see yourself as Joan of Arc, King Lear, or Boadicea, or imagine yourself emerging from the waves as a Botticelli venus or pierced with arrows as Saint Sebastian, feel free to confess, and let your alter ego come to life in paint!  
Sophie is also a painter of still life, landscape and figurative work, and these elements can be incorporated into your portrait, or commissioned as works in their own right.  
Sophie's work is represented in private collections in Australia, Europe and the USA, and she exhibits regularly in Sydney, Australia.  
Sophie's recent portrait of author Katerina Cosgrove has been selected as a finalist in the 2010 Moran Portrait Prize in Australia.
Education   1996-1999 Charles Cecil Studios, Florence, Italy
Awards   Finalist Doug Moran Portrait Prize 2010
Artist's Statement   I find the people the most interesting subject matter of all, and am fascinated by the challenge to capture that elusive mixture of psychology and form that is the human face.  
There is something about human beings that I feel can only be revealed by a painting, it is something to do with the way a painting locates the sitter in time as well as place, combining a series of impressions rather than a single one, distilling a range of gestures, moods and expressions so that the finished work is a truly representative impression of the person, in all their varied aspects.  
There is a sort of alchemy at work in the translation of the layers of a face, a process that is as much about the artist as the sitter. It is a combination of the two personalities, and of the sympathetic searching of the artist for the authentic expression of the sitter, the observation and interpretation of the 'emotional weather' that passes over a face, whether in thoughtful repose or more animatedly in conversation, the sensitive response to the humour and often pain that is written there.  
I aim to capture not only an exact visual representation, but a 'living likeness' of my sitters. I strive to portray the sitter not only as I see them but as they see themselves.

Statement      I offer all of the above as options for commissioned portraits, and can paint them in the traditional/classical style, or with a more contemporary feel.  
Clients can choose to be painted entirely from life, from a combination of live sittings and reference photographs, or from photographs alone.  
If photographs are to be used as reference, they can either be the client's own, (if the images are of sufficient quality to paint from), or can be studio photographs taken by the artist or a designated photographer. I have created a 'Portrait Photography' information sheet that can be emailed or posted to potential clients, especially those overseas and unable to visit the my studio. This package contains information on how to set up a portrait, suggested poses, instructions for lighting, backdrops and props, so that good quality reference photos can be taken by the client or by a nominated professional photographer.  
If at all possible, I prefer to work from a range of photographic reference, rather than just one photo. My aim is to capture a sense of the personality of the sitter, and this is best achieved by using a variety of reference material from which a sense of the 'whole person' can be distilled.  
Ideally, I like to meet the sitter in person, so as to get a sense of them physically, but this is not always possible. If the sitter is overseas, I find a short home video of them talking and going about their daily lives is very helpful in getting a more rounded sense of the person.  
Live sittings are usually two hours in duration, with frequent breaks included. For a head and shoulders portrait, between five and seven sittings are usually required, and up to twelve sittings for a full length work.  
A portrait from photographs might take anything from two weeks to a month to complete, depending on complexity and the number of people it contains.  
I offer a full framing service and has many different frame options available, from contemporary modern mouldings to the more traditional gilded ornate variety.  
Although based in Australia, I spend several weeks every year in the UK, and am happy to extend this time if required. I am also happy to travel to most other countries.


Travel nationally    Yes
Travel internationally    Yes
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Portrait Format:
  Head and Shoulders   From 3700    $5700
Half LengthFrom 5250 $8150
3/4 LengthFrom 7350 $11500
Full LengthFrom 10500 $16250
Double PortraitFrom 7350 $11500
Group PortraitFrom 15750 $24500
The Prices quoted are for the standard mediums of oil on canvas and bronze
(in the case of sculpture).
For other media, prices may vary, please enquire directly with us for more specific quotes.
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