Dad, Lucy Brown

This bold expressionist offering shows a clever use of colour psychology to express qualities of personality in a portrait. It is a contemporary approach to portraiture, moving away from the traditional instinct of realism and leaning into an approach that preference the overall image instead of finite details. It is a sizeable undertaking achieved with self-assurance.


Lucy’s use of complementary colours creates a harmonious and intrepid visual experience, imbuing life into the subject of the portrait. This is emphasised by the non-linear application of line-work, adding momentum and dynamism to the portrait, ultimately creating warmth that emanates from the portrait onto the viewer before it. The essence of the subject has been captured in such a way by the artist that the viewer feels it palpably emanating from the work.

Artist Statement - Lucy Brown

I wanted to create a piece of work of someone that I look up too, I chose my father because he is a very influential person in my life. Through my work I wanted to express my father's personality through the use of mark making and colours. I watered down acrylic to create a base to the portrait, this created subtle skin tone to the figure. I chose orange and yellow as it represents the bubbly and happy side of my father’s personality. This allowed me to work over top the acrylic create the facial features with the acrylic paint sticks. I used complementary colours to create the shadow on the portrait, I used orange and blue as they complement each other's intensity. Through the use of colour psychology I was able to express different qualities of my father's personality through the use of different colours. By using blue I was able to represent my trust that I have in him and how I value his opinion. Throughout the process of making my painting I came across the issue of not knowing what colour to do the shirt, I didn't want it to overpower the colours of the face therefore I printed off different images of my portrait and experimented with different colours. I chose to do light browns to bring out those same colours I drew in his eyes, this made the eyes stand out but also not make the shirt overwhelm the portrait.

I was inspired by the fast movement and expressive pencil strokes in Robert Hannaford's work and tried to mimic this movement through my piece. I represented my father’s energy through the use of powerful marks on his shirt and face, the paint sticks allows me to do so due their soft texture and application on to the mdf. I was also greatly influenced by Vincent Van Gogh's portrait work. His use of colour inspired me to use vibrant and harmonious colour to help highlight the portraits facial features.

I left negative space around the portrait to bring attention to the face. I mixed yellow, red and white to create an off white acrylic paint in the background to bring attention to the vibrant oranges and yellow in the portraits face. This halo like background was used to represent his energy and how positive he is. I used paint sticks to create small, thin lines to create detail around the eyes to make them realistic and natural. I used dry, watered down acrylic paint strokes on the figure and background to create a base colour; this created a rich skin tone for the figure. I used paint sticks to capture the natural movement of the portraits facial structures. I tried to create a positive mood to the painting as my father is very positive therefore I wanted to express his personality through my art work.