At the moment I am beginning to work on a piece for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who happened to see my work in a surgery while visiting Bridport. I received an invitation to his house, deep in the Devon countryside. Hugh explained that he normally buys artwork from people he knows and likes, rather from just anyone with a reputation. Good start, I guess! It was lovely to meet his family.
The kitchen was long and big and as you would expect from a chef with a shelf of his own cookery books. Lots of jars and bottles and a lovely old oven, plus plenty of cooking utensils!
Hugh liked the idea of a family portrait looking as natural as possible with the family around the kitchen doing what they usually do – the kitchen being the place where they spend most of their time and where, unsurprisingly, there is plenty of interest in the culinary arts! While I was there, one of his boys began filleting a fish while the other prepared a pesto sauce.
I managed to get some good ideas and get some decent images and I really appreciate the free hand that I have been given to create my own work. But this was my first major portrait commission and with hindsight, I did not manage the process properly. The outcome was not what I wanted, but HFG and family were extremely supportive and I was grateful for the opportunity.