Vintage family portraits


Roger and I are getting married in March and as a result have spent quite some time reflecting on our families. Who to invite, and who will not be able to be there because they are no longer with us. We have both lost our Mums in the past few years and wanted to bring them to the party somehow.

We bought a box of 10 oval canvasses 40x50cm and plan to do five family portraits each. We are painting them in monochrome, the mighty Payne’s grey of course. The photographs I have chosen to work from are all old black and white and I am really enjoying the challenge.


This is the initial sketch of my brother Robert. I cheated and used a projector for this part. Rather than spending hours struggling with the placement on the canvas, which seems to be much more tricky using an oval format. Robert died of Leukaemia two days before I was born. I was a week late so he missed me, something I have regrets about even though I had no control over the situation. I have always been late for everything ever since, and fully expect that I will be late for my own funeral.


When I look at this second phase photograph I wish I had left it like this! Typically, I felt the need to make it more finished.


There is another bit of story behind this painting. My late Nana took this photograph to a professional portrait painter and had it reproduced in colour. She never really liked the result. I can’t remember why, but I’m guessing it just really didn’t look like him.


This is it…

Anyway I’m hoping I have made a better job of it and have redeemed the situation 45 years on. I think my Nana and my Mum would be very happy with it.

Robert was only three when he died, and he was beautiful. My parents always said he was caring and generous even at such a young age, and that he would have been a wonderful brother. I always wanted a big brother, one that I got on really well with. I would have loved for him to be at our wedding.

RIP Robert John Vincent