Portrait Artist

Hi I'm Tam!

Inspired by people and animals, Tamara Burnett is known for her detailed, life-like, confident photorealism paintings and drawings. Studio visitors enjoy the intricate elements, expression of who they are, and understanding apparent in her works. The modern oils, watercolours and pencils snag attention from a distance and then enthrall the viewer up close with fine components. Aside from the meditative process of building a portrait from an outlined sketch, she greatly enjoys the color and tone interplay. She says, “Portraits can be made in so many ways, drawing from details, mood, lighting, history and context, and often multiple photographic sources. It becomes more exciting when I can draw together elements that create a story."

Her practice is focused on aesthetically detailing the accurate and expressive features of someone physically and internally. The expression of their eyes is a particularly important area, connecting closely with their sense of identity as a window into their being. These deeply personal portrait artworks spark a passage of self-discovery, the encounter of those around us, and the establishment of how much these works make an impact to their audience. The stories that are found within these people and pets is an enriching part of our experience when we connect to it. 

a serious moment about mental health

The serious moment project showcases my conceptual art with the aim of ending stigma and opening a positive space for mental health. It's something that many of us take seriously already, and that's what I hope to maintain and advocate for. The collection will grow with time as I find passion and interest in the many areas of mental health, motivated by my own experiences and those around me. To  me, art about mental health looks like experiencing our full range of emotions, from those we call positive and negative, they are all valid and make us human. I like to share the intricacies, learning, challenges, hope and self-development that we go through for mental health and tell the story in a way that feels like it captures that experience in each single piece and as a collection. 

Read more on the project page!

Current Project

Creative Process

The creative process is exceptionally important to me in every portrait, I want to know as much as I can about the subject and make sure we have a really good idea to get started. I communicate closely with you to make sure your ideas are clear to me, and to clarify anything that might have been confusing in translation.


I start each portrait with a clear, high resolution and expressive photograph. Sometimes people prefer to send me 10 or more photos so that I can choose which one would work best on the surface or piece together elements from several photographs to create something new. I choose the photos which are clear, in focus, and where the person or animal are showing something about themselves which is interesting and unique.

I then make sure to draw a simple outline of the facial and anatomical shapes, features, and key curves and lines that define their form. After the outline is drawn I begin to fill the detail in with paint or pencil. It works in layers and stages from basic colours and shading to the fine details towards the end. 

Afterwards I send a photograph of the work to the person who ordered it. I open up a dialogue with them for open feedback, where if something doesn't look quite right to them they can tell me in a pressure and judgement free environment. I am never offended by these points of feedback, I thrive off them so I really value it when somebody can bring up a point of improvement. It helps me learn and I am extremely grateful for it, I also believe it is essential in the process so that my customers can actually feel that they have got value for their money.