How I work

Mountain Goat: Watercolour on 140lb hot pressed paper

When working on a commissioned portrait, be it person or pet, my goal is to produce a very accurate likeness without necessarily achieving photographic realism.

In order to achieve a result that will be both vivid and unique, not to mention satisfying to my own creative needs and instincts, one of my primary aims is to reproduce colours and hues present in the subject that may not be immediately obvious to the eye but which will become increasingly apparent over the course of the work due to the prolonged and intensive observation required. Taking particular pleasure in the subtle transition of colours, and the resultant hues that occur organically according to light and form, I am seeking to create an image that will be both vividly striking and uniquely personal to the subject.

An ability to define shape and form from the play of light

Working from a mixed media palette of both dry and water-based pigments, I will either follow my own instincts and intuitions or the specific requirements of the client if the work happens to be commission based. I have a particular fondness for acrylic paints as a fixed basis from which to work, with subsequent washes of watercolour paint to provide depth and interest, and watercolour pencil for finer details. For extreme contrasts in detailed areas, I like to make use of black ink, fine-liner pens and white gel-pens. I will also use white gouache in larger areas where I feel that more highlighting will be beneficial.

A reliance on my drawing skills and an innate sense of proportion are primary when attempting to achieve a physical likeness of the subject. An ability to define shape and form from the play of light is also a major factor that I take immense pleasure from attempting and gain great satisfaction in achieving.

I feel that my paintings are almost sculptural. The pleasure and satisfaction for me comes from creating a piece of artwork that, often without being fully conscious of the process, is a strikingly vivid image that is almost three dimensional and yet subtly translucent at the same time.

Also in this section

Pete Burry

Pete lives in Wiltshire and focuses mainly on creating detailed watercolour portraits of people and animals.

Having accepted commissions for portraits since 1987, Pete also has a passion for portraying architecture, classic vehicles, sport and nature. His personal vision and style has been influenced by a love of photography and for roaming around in far-flung places.