My latest oil portrait features a beautiful nine-year-old girl from Hampshire. Painted on canvas, the 24 by 20 inch portrait was created over a six-month period and strives to capture the beauty of childhood.

Portrait Painting of a Girl Called Betty

Betty – Oil on canvas, 24″ x 20″, 2014

Portrait of a Girl

The painting of the young girl, named Betty, was commissioned by her parents who wanted a portrait that captured her beauty and innocence.

The main sitting for the portrait was staged in a Gothic Mansion in Bristol where I collated a wealth of photographic references and studies.

A Gothic Mansion in Bristol, England

The Gothic Mansion, Bristol

Betty’s parents were keen for her to be painted wearing her favourite dress, which was lilac with white polka dots and a colourful floral pattern. Also featured in the portrait are the child’s two favourite teddy bears.

Painting the Beauty of Childhood

After careful planning I chose a setting near a window that was bathed in a warm but indirect light. I asked Betty to sit on an ornate, high backed, dark wood chair that created an interesting framing device around her while emphasizing her petite stature.

I felt that the dark wood of the chair and neutral background helped balance the colourful dress, while ensuring the main focus of the piece remained on the girl’s face. To help celebrate the beauty of the young girl I painted her looking away from the viewer, off to one side, with a soft relaxed smile.

Jane, Betty’s mother, described her delight upon receiving the painting;

“I can’t believe it, I’m absolutely stunned by the painting. It’s so realistic! Gary has captured the likeness of Betty perfectly. We will cherish the portrait forever.”


Gary Armer with Young Girl and Portrait

The Artist with the Sitter and final Portrait

The Painting Process

It was a pleasure to paint this portrait. I found the challenges of replicating the colour of her hair and rich tones of her skin, particularly enjoyable. The details of her eyes were painstakingly captured as the real focus of the piece.

I took great care to ensure I achieved a true likeness of Betty with a natural and relaxed expression. I think that the vivid colours of the dress and the way she is cuddling her teddies helps give an impression of innocence.

You can see more detailed photos of the portrait in the portfolio section.