Selected work and testimonials
Here’s a small selection of Debora Montesoro’s commission work - including testimonials from her clients - which we have put together to help illustrate the commission process.
Commission Portrait: Barbara Mc dowell
Stephen approached me after being introduced to my Extraordinary Women Series. He wanted a portrait of his late mother to give to his Aunt Steph, Barbara’s sister.
He told me his mother was a model who lost her ability to walk from severe Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 28. Yet despite the challenges of life in a wheelchair, she continued her career modelling clothes suitable for the disabled almost up until her death from cancer in 2003 aged 60.
Stephen and I spoke for hours about his mother, her story and her life. He shared her portfolio and told me of her magnetism, her stoicism, her independence and sense of humour.
I was inspired by Barbara’s story and her approach to life. It was important to me that my artwork captured the hardship but also her poise and her strength but also her sparkle.
I was nervous as I was about to show Stephen the first draft of Barbara’s portrait. Although I was happy with my work, I was also aware of how personal and intimate a portrait like this is, so I was delighted and relieved with Stephen’s enthusiastic reaction.
Stephen eventually asked me to also adapt the square portrait I had designed for his Aunt, so to have two additional prints in portrait format: one to hang at his family home. the other for another relative. The prints were framed in a stunning walnut frame, with an elegant ivory picture mount and anti-reflective glass.
I am proud that the portrait worked so well, as you can see from the letter from Aunt Steph, but also that Stephen has asked me to include this work in my portfolio.
Commission Portrait: The Dunn Men
Jamie was familiar with my work, having previously purchased one of my Seems Impossible prints. Inspired by my Extraordinary Women portraits, he asked me to design a portrait of his mother Annie, as a present to her for Christmas. After further consideration, he decided that she would much prefer a portrait of Jamie’s father Paddy - who had recently passed - rather than one of herself, and that he would also give one copy to his brother, and hang one in the lounge in his own apartment.
Jamie showed me lots of photos of his family over the years and I asked him many questions about Paddy, his life, his career in the Royal Navy and his interests. Yet the more we talked, the more I felt that what Jamie was really keen to capture was a strong sense of family, with Paddy firmly at its centre. Jamie’s brief was quite open, and he was happy for me to explore different creative directions and styles.
One photo in particular inspired me - it was a beautiful embrace of Paddy and his two sons Jamie and Alasdair, when they were kids. This was my starting point, although I knew that Jamie wanted his father represented the way he remembers him - in more recent years.
I wanted to both strip back the artwork to the minimum - to focus on the embrace, and turn the abstract sense of family into something palpable - and to ensure Paddy’s, Jamie’s and Alasdair’s silhouettes were immediately recognisable. I used details of their clothing to enhance a sense of their style and personalities.
I was keen that Annie would also feature in the artwork, and this led me to add a wedding ring on Paddy’s finger. The final (secret) detail was the wedding date engraved on the ring, which one may note if inspecting the artwork carefully, and which is clearly visible only with a magnifier.
I was ecstatic with Jamie’s delighted reaction when he saw the 3 framed prints, and to hear he couldn’t wait to present them as gifts to his mother and brother at Christmas.
The prints were framed in a 20mm wooden black stained frame, with 3mm UV100 Gallery Plexiglas.