Posted on March 7, 2015
June Mendoza is one of our most prolific and highly respected portrait painters. She has been revelling in her most recent projects and shares this with us in her own words. “A portrait of opera’s Danielle de Niese painted at my beloved Glyndebourne, involved not only Danni in a beautiful couture gown, but treasurable familiarity with an off duty Glyndebourne, the house and mugs of tea in the kitchen with the dogs. We painted in the huge Organ Room over a long period of time between Danni’s international schedules, and this included two winters – it was freezing!
“By coincidence in tandem, I was also doing a painting of jazz singer Salena Jones, whom I saw when she was working at the Pheasantry in Chelsea. Mocking up a nightclub scene when sitter and artist are painting in daylight in a kitchen/diner (Salena’s) was not easy, but the accompanying off duty visits to hear Salena sing were a joy! The painting also involved visits to music chums for reference on trumpets, saxophone, etc. Over the years I have painted a succession of Director generals for the Royal Army Medical Corps; all canvasses the same size, and all in their Major General Uniforms with the braid (murder to paint!) and medals. It has been a point to pose the men (within the restrictions of size and garb) as differently as possible, but with medals very much in evidence. The recent one was yet another charming gentleman. At the unveiling luncheon it was amusing to see all my previous portraits (10 of them!) plus the new painting lined up on a very long wall, one by one. The next one is already in the diary. Its actually lovely to be connected to an organisation or regiment over the years and to have the friendships and familiarity that brings to the working day.
June continues, “Actor Trader Faulkner was a must. he came to his book launch in full red outift, including beret. I had to paint him thus. However, because of the complicated background, this entailed many sessions – ALL of which meant climbing 98 steps each session to get to Trader’s flat! At my bell ring Trader (who is 85) would hare down the stairs, take my painting case and ascend the 98 steps. By the time I puffed to his door he would already have the tea made. Amazing man!” June’s fabulous work can be seen on her website www.junemendoza.co.uk