The Goldfinch, after Fabritius – Commissioned Pastel Portrait

The original painting that inspired this pastel painting is a masterpiece in oil by the Dutch artist, Fabritius.

Fabritius was a student of Michelangelo, one of my all time favourite artists, and I came to love this painting thanks to reading the wonderful novel of the same name, The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.

As life’s little coincidences go, I happened to connect with a lovely woman whose daughter adores Fabritius’ painting, and at the same time stumbled across the book in a local book swap, and events combined to generate a commission of my interpretation of the image, with the concurrent pleasure of a really good read. Having immersed myself in the novel where the painting is central to the plot, I felt a strong connection to the image, only increased by a love of goldfinches and recent success in encouraging them to visit our garden.

This pastel painting was particularly challenging, as pastel is a very different medium to oil, and the closer I looked at the source image, the more I saw how integral the rough brush strokes were to the painting. This was replicated to some extent in my artwork, and consciously trying to paint in the style of another is very challenging though also enlightening. It is a process I have not undertaken before, though one I would like to do again as it was a challenge that stretched me and taught me a lot.


Now completed, The Goldfinch has settled in it’s new home, and is all set to travel to university with it’s owner when she takes her next step in life. As a gift from her parents, I am sure it will be treasured and travel with her through the years, and I hope will always be enjoyed.