Cruel & Tender


I took this image in Bath last weekend. It got me thinking about the homeless who have dogs for companionship. I have never seen a distressed or malnourished dog with a rough sleeper.

Dogs can offer warmth and comfort during tough times, creating a special bond between two souls that are dependent on each other.

I plan to explore this subject further for the project.




Over the last few weeks I have been looking for a classical portrait painting to interpret in the studio. From the very beginning I was drawn to A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Little was know about the lady until this century. It is believed to be Anne Lovell, the wife of Sir Francis Lovell who was an attendant to Henry VIII.

It was common practice to use pets in portraits alongside women and children, and it was initially thought that the squirrel was a pet however it was actually a symbol of her heraldry. The starling is thought to be a pun on the location of the family seat at East Harling.

The simple pallet of light and dark tones against the strong blue background, for me, is a refreshing contrast to other traditonal portraits. The light is directed towards her face and chest. There is a small shadow beneath her nose. The shade appears to the side of her cap, then runs down the back of the shoulder and arm to around her hands.

My aim is to create a contemporary interpretation of this image. I have also been looking at the works of Hendrik Kerstens and Romina Ressia. They are both photographers who take inspiration from classical portraits by the great masters and add their modern twist.

paper_roll2 Paper roll, Hendrik Kerstens

bubble_wrap_2 Bubble wrap, Hendrik Kerstens

dsc_8191ret2-jpg-2048x1566_q90 Bubble gum, Romina Ressia


Girl wearing sneakers (sitting), Romina Ressia