(Last Updated On: February 4, 2019)

Melbourne Family Portraits-Photo to Painting

Melbourne Family Portraits-Custom Family Portrait will be used for this article. The Photo to painting Process of the Melbourne Family Portrait Painting award winning painting was published in the Australian Artist’s Magazine.

Finally here… the first blog of 2019 ..after difficulties with web hosts, security etc I finally have set up this new blog to share my thoughts, ideas, experiences of being an online portrait artist since 2003. Some of my stories may be informative some strange experiences and some odd but I will share the artwork that I have done over the past 15 years. For those of you that commissioned this artwork I am sure you will be interested.

Here goes with the first!

Here are the decisions I faced with this painting process when created this painting of a family portrait. This couple was actually photographed at a wedding and they are cousins as well as ‘best friends’.

To show this Melbourne Family Portraits Painting process I will cover

  • How and Why I took photo for portrait
  • My choice of size and medium?
  • What made me chose this subject?
  • About the completed painting
  • About the Artist
  • Relevant Links

In this post I will share what makes a good reference photo for a portrait painting. Highlighting issues of mood, atmosphere and a good likeness that is so important for the impact that painting will portray.

Why I took this photo – what was I looking for in my choice of subject?

I frequently get asked what would be the best photo for a portrait commission. After directing clients to visit my Melbourne Family Portrait website on taking the photo I discuss the need to chose a photo of high resolution that best typifies the subjects moods and likeness. If the subject never sees the side of their face then a portrait of a profile will not be a painting that they will accept. I was drawn to this subject for another reason. It was the compelling impact as well as the clarity. It was the

  • The joy that this couple emanated
  • Light source…their joy in laughter and the light their bodies gave off against the green foliage was very striking
  • When I looked at them I could not help but smile. Funny thing is later while creating it I often found myself smiling at the subjects and the people viewing this artwork also smiled.
  • So it was the EMOTIONAL IMPACT that radiated from the subjects and the light source lent a freshness to the subjects

Personally I truly love painting children for their fresh complexion while I love painting older people for their character and expressions. Older people are more facially expressive. Their aged faces express more character.

Family Portrait Photo



  • Here is my photo that I took. I am not a good photographer as you will see. Well I didn’t cut their heads off and it was not out of focus….so that is something in my favour.
  • I would love more photographic skills but I am too impatient to use the time away from painting to master the skill.
  • I have an old canon camera EOS kiss x 2. I set it to manual shoot and toggled the wheel to have it appear right and true to the day.
  • I found as an artist that it is not what I see when capturing the photographic image but what information it will give me to express or portray the painting. Imagination is everything !
  • I want the photo to simulate an idea or vision I can use.

Why I chose this Medium for the Painting?

This choice was made when I considered the Mood and Atmosphere or Portrait Design I wanted for this Family Portrait. Pastels lend themselves to give an impressionistic dreamy effect. I prefer oil paints for great clarity, mood, drama. Both mediums are of the highest quality of pigment. Both will last for centuries. However in my opinion Pastels are best for impressionism. As for the Size of the painting I wanted 45 x 60 cms. This is the approximate largest size for pastels as they become very heavy when framing them under glass so do not lend themselves to the much larger sizes that oil paints on canvas allow. Why I Chose this subject?   >> For the sheer joy of immersing myself this the subjects joy!

Melbourne Family Portrait Painting Completed  >>


  • This painting was published in the Australian Artist Magazine
  • The Article featured the step by step procedure in creating this pastel painting.
  • I will provide these steps in a future blog for those that are interested.
  • This painting also won awards with the Pastel Society of Australia.
  • True to the nature it was created in many found themselves smiling at the joy the painting captured.
  • About this artist… Cynthia Hargraves. I received the standard of Master Pastellist with the Pastel Society of Australia.
  • Sadly not a lot of requests for Portrait Commissions are in pastel. However I still love working in this medium.
  • I will go further into the mediums used to create my portrait commissions.

About the Melbourne Family Portraits Painting Artist: Cynthia Hargraves…

I was encouraged to paint from a young age as my Mother was an artist. It was not until a later age that I finally got serious with my art, gained a lot of tuition and experience and later shared that knowledge teaching workshops around Australia. Finally I realized that I was happiest simply painting. I will share some of these examples below

I have had many questions over the years from interested artists and clients alike. With artists they usually want to know about materials and techniques.For these artists I will be following this blog with..Painting in Stages up until completion. Created in mostly Unison Pastels.

Clients are usually interested on how they go about getting a Portrait Painting Commissioned. Here is the simplest ( view larger ) MELBOURNE FAMILY PORTRAIT COMMISSION PROCESS 

I thought this article may help some who are worried about getting started with the commissioning process. I hope this has been helpful.

Please let me know…..What would you like to see in the form of future articles? 


Portrait Artist Painter - Summary Article
Melbourne Family Portraits Painting-Custom Family Portrait Process
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Melbourne Family Portraits Painting-Custom Family Portrait Process
Melbourne Family Portraits Painting-Custom Family Portrait Process. Family Portrait by Cynthia Hargraves showing taking photo, the commission process up until completed painting.
Cynthia Hargraves
Portrait Artist: Cynthia Hargraves
Cynthia Hargraves
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