Florence Houston Biography

Florence Houston

Florence Houston’s training as a portrait painter began in Florence, where she studied for four years at an atelier called Charles Cecil Studios. There, she was taught to paint using “sight size”, a method used by many of the old masters and rarely in the present day. It involves lining your subject up along side your canvas and observing both from as far back as you can. This technique allows you to transfer your subject across onto your canvas with the help of a plum line and a mirror for measurements. It also helps you see ‘the bigger picture’ as the distance offers a clarity that working up close to your canvas does not. Artists who use this method can be easily identified by their pacing to and from the canvas; they apply the paint and then return back to their point of observation. Although originially used as a technique for portraiture, Florence applies it to whatever she is painting.

In her studio she splits her time between portrait and still life commissions, whilst also exploring and experimenting with different techniques, mediums and subject matter. Despite her initial intention of using still lifes to exercise and develop her technique between portraits, she soon found that this work had become as important to her as her portraiture.

In her paintings she looks to see more in mundane and everyday objects, and takes as much care selecting her colour palette as she does selecting the composition, believing that colour combinations are a key element of any painting, important in guiding the sensation of it’s viewer.

Florence has taken part in numerous group shows and recently had her first solo exhibition. She has also exhibited with The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and The Royal Society of British Artists where she was given the Edward Wesson Award for Watercolour Painting.