‘A Beach Portrait’ Private Commission May 2014


copyright Mia Laing 2014
‘A Beach Portrait’
Oil on canvas – May 2014
Private Commission
30×40 inches

It’s been an innings in the making but here is the commission that I started in April!!  Beautifully framed and hanging with pride of place in the open plan living/dining area of my client’s family home.  It looks superb and I am happy to finally sign off on this challenging project.

I was first approached about this commission in February.  Time constraints and my own doubts and fears saw me putting off excepting this painting numerous times. March saw my clients eldest daughter flying interstate to start at University…and I breathed a sigh of relief!  Then April arrived and with Uni holidays imminent the conversation was reinstated.  It was time to grab my nerves by their devilish horns and give them a big heave-ho.

Four kids, one dog, one puppy…sand, wind, water and a reference photo needed…can you see why I was a bit nervous?  My butterflies abated as soon as I met the kids and dogs.  They were all gorgeous and put up with me directing bossing them around for an hour and a half and 450 plus photos. We walked, talked, posed, laughed, ran and dealt with crazy, wind-blown hair and excited pooches who didn’t quite understand sitting still for the camera!  They were all amazing and puppy, Liesel, eventually fell into an exhausted slumber.  This divine puppy was by far the hardest part of this commission…black fur.  Her face kept disappearing into shadow and I had to basically collate  two different photos to get her right…and she’s still kept vanishing on me! She has a face – it’s just not noticeable in these photographs!copyright Mia Laing

As is typical of most photo sessions, it was within the final few minutes and the last of the Golden hour rays, that we got the best photos… the shyness had abated, every one was more relaxed and comfortable with the process and the dogs had run off their energy.  I certainly realise I have a lot to learn about the photography part of commission work.  I am so used to shooting my girls, who have been in front of a camera forever and  pose quickly and effortlessly for what I have in mind.  It’s much harder with kids who are not mine.  But we got there in the end due to these 4 lovely kids and 2 obedient fur children.  Thank you Louise!

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about this commission, has been getting to know my client, Louise Allan.    http://louise-allan.com  https://www.facebook.com/louiseallanwriter?fref=ts  We have been distant acquaintances for a number of years, having completed a parenting course together about 12 years ago when we were in the thick of our toddler taming years.  I had not seen Louise again until I started following her page about a year ago.  I recognised her face on a friends Facebook feed.  We actually live within 5 minutes walk of one another too!

Louise’s creative pursuit is writing.  She has taken the brave step from medico to writer and is in the last few hurdles of writing her first novel…all 90, 000 plus words and umpteen edits of it!  I am in awe.  To not only make the decision to give up a hard-won career in medicine, but to embark on a writing path with the demands of four children to care for.

It is a courageous move for a mother to start pursuing her dreams.  I totally understand the conflicts of motherhood with an inspired chase of a goal…a journey that at times can feel like a safari into the Congo.  It’s not easy…ever…especially when you throw children, teenagers and marriage into the trek. And dogs…never forget the dogs!   But I am sure Louise would agree with me…we wouldn’t have it any other way and in fact, it is these beloveds that inspire us in our pursuits.

Louise organised this painting as a surprise gift for her husband…we’ve managed to keep it quiet for 3 months! That was hard.  He received it last night and Louise has told me, he said it is the best gift he has EVER received.  Phew.

copyright Mia Laing 2014
Traditional style Framing to enrich an heirloom piece


Gosh…now lets talk deep and meaningful about FRAMES!!  I took Louise to meet my favourite framer, Peter at ‘Art Presentations’ in Claremont.  They choose a gorgeous traditional frame that really enhances the heirloom aspect of this painting.  A double bevelled frame with a cream slip. It’s a big painting, 30 x 40 inches – 76 x 101cm.  The double framing gives it a majestic presence.  Putting the money into the right frame truly makes a painting complete, taking it from ‘Wow’ to Wowsers!!’  Especially with a piece that will be passed down through the generations.   The four kids are going to fight over who inherits this one!

Two commissions now complete for the year and 11 paintings overall…I’m getting queries into other commissions  but will be spacing them with work of my own, especially if the exhibition proposal is given the go ahead.  Commissions needing reference photos still equal SCARY!  Though Louise’s kids sure did make it easier for me!

Enough of my ramblings… Go check Out ‘Louise Allan Writer’.  Her novel, when it’s eventually published will be first on my ‘to read’ list.

I’m off to the studio to start a new painting…

Mia x








2 thoughts on “‘A Beach Portrait’ Private Commission May 2014

  1. Thanks, Mia. A lovely write-up! And thanks for the painting—it is that more special because it has been painted by a friend.

    I remember the Parenting course so well, not that I’ve always followed what we were told … oops! How quickly the time has passed! Who’d have thought we’d meet up in our ‘second’ careers this way? I’m enjoying getting to know you again—it’s lovely to be able to spend time with another creative person!

    Louise x

    PS/ My husband went to work with a little smile on his lips, still talking about how nice it is.

    1. Just reading this now! Thank you so very much Louise. Hope you are all still loving the painting nearly ten days later?!

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