Inspired by a small, much loved old photograph that may have been carried around in a small pocket! 

It’s just 7cms across and feels like it was treasured and precious because it is very creased and even has a tiny careful mend in brown tape on the top corner. I love the writing on the back which tells me that this is my Mum and that she was probably sitting in her uncles’ studio or workshop. He was a photographer, violin maker and bicycle builder called Alfred John Loughton – I have found his work very inspiring and have painted him several times before.

Old sepia photo of a child readingThe reverse of an old photo

There is also a little phrase which I love –
“Sometimes I sit and think – and sometimes I just sit”
I don’t think we allow enough contemplative moments in our busy lives – do you?

Progress images of a portrait painting by Gill Drew

Here are the work in progress photos. I was working on a wooden panel in acrylic. I found my way into the painting using a colour palette I felt suited the age of the little girl but as I applied the pink for her knitted jumper I did wonder if this was just my contemporary viewpoint!

You can see the painting emerging from the background marks as I established the drawing just with my paintbrush. The final steps involved lots of smaller adjustments. I was feeling torn with how much I wanted to save some of the background textural marks – some of which I had grown to love. This is a stage of creating calm spaces of colour alongside the more busy areas.

Final progress shots of a portrait painting by Gill Drew


I love to create an atmosphere with depth and layers of colour. Nothing brings me more happiness than when someone connects on a spiritual level with a painting.