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Cairns Portrait Painting Live

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Cairns Esplanade Dining Precinct Opening 27th June 2021

I was invited to do some live illustrating on the Cairns Esplanade for the dining precinct opening on June the 27th. It also happened to be my birthday!

Many locals and tourists were interested in talking to me about illustrating. Luckily it wasn't too hard to rope in some willing people as portrait models. I asked Tuchka to be my 1st model; I chose her because she was wearing some majorly groovy glasses, and I spotted her from several metres away. I had to work quickly to get 12 illustrations done in 6 hours, between talking to people and painting. My medium of choice was Indian ink. It's pretty forgiving and can be diluted down to many different shades. It also dries very quickly! Each illustration was painted on heavyweight A3 sized quality artist paper. Choosing this paper was necessary, as any thinner paper would have buckled from the watered-down Indian ink.

The parents of the 1st little girl in the row below came up to me, and I asked if she could be my model. I'm thrilled with the finished illustration, it's sweet, and I like the half-finished look. If I had overworked this artwork, I would have removed the image's youthful, fragile beauty.

The 2nd image is of a slightly older child; she and her mum were very keen to get an illustration. While it doesn't look exactly like her, there is still something where I have captured her character and essence, which I like. It's something I prefer and makes an illustration look more human. This portrait also has excellent eye contact with the viewer, a challenging element to achieve in a short time when painting.

The 3rd portrait is of El from Ah-Room. She bakes lovely cakes, and her shop is in the little laneway next to Woolies in town. My husband ordered my birthday cake from her little cake shop, and it was consumed within a day. I like her cakes as they aren't too sweet. El always looks chic, so it was a pleasant surprise to see El and her friends on the day.

My last portrait of the day was a young islander man, a local in Cairns. He zoomed up to me on his bike and was worried I wouldn't paint him. But I'll paint anyone if I have time. Again, the portrait doesn't look exactly like him as I don't paint many men (maybe 5% of my work is painting men and another 20% is painting children), so to have the opportunity to paint a man is a very welcome one, especially one with very curly hair and striking features.

(I haven't posted his picture here, out of respect for his culture)

The 12 portraits are going to the lovely Raine at the Cairns Regional Council, who arranged for six local artists to participate in the opening. She will auction them off at the end of the year. The money earned will go towards the annual Mayor's Christmas Hamper Appeal. These hampers will go to local families in need.

If you would like to buy your portrait, please get in touch with me on 0419956309 to give your details to Raine.

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