Portrait Artist

Hi I'm Tamara Burnett!

I'm an artist that specialises in the photorealism style, particularly portraits.

My practice is focussed on expressing the detailed, accurate and expressive features of a person (or pet) 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 and the discovery of another, and the establishment of how much they make an impact to those around them. The stories that are found within these people and pets is an enriching part of the viewer’s experience when they connect to it. I am driven to represent these extremely valued individuals whilst conveying a strong accuracy, record of their natural form, nostalgia, and the enduring sense of love.

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 the client to make sure their 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 of their loved one to draw or paint so that I can choose which one would work best on the paper. I choose the one where they look clear, in focus, and are showing something about themselves which is interesting and unique.

I then make sure to draw a simple outline of their 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. 

Education and Career Experiences

I'm a person who believes strongly in continuous education. The process never ends, at what point can you call yourself an expert? Never.

I completed up to Grade 11 in high school, where my favourite subject was Art, closely followed by Woodwork. I also enjoyed creative writing and poetry in English, anything that was about making things made me happy as a young girl.

After school I took an interesting turn and completed my trade in Electrical Engineering - at the time I had a curiosity for the unknown and adventure. I wanted to learn how to fix things and saw this as a skill that would be essential to my life. I also wanted to leave home and make a fully independent life for myself. My trade and tenure was with the Royal Australian Air Force where I enjoyed making a difference to air traffic control for the highlight of my career. I worked in other sectors but air traffic control was my favourite. I worked alongside some truly inspiring people, learned a lot about organisations, technology, teamwork, leadership and communication. 

I currently study a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) in Visual Art and Textiles & Design. It is my dream to practice my art alongside teaching it. I strongly believe that to be a teacher you MUST be passionate about what you teach - and art has been my passion ever since early childhood (my earliest memories). The most inspiring teachers I had as a girl growing up were practicing art at the same time - so this is my goal.

Tutoring is the role I'm currently working in until my degree is complete and I absolutely love being able to help passionate children learn things that were once overwhelming. It's something I've always wanted to do!


Bachelor of Secondary Education Visual Art and Textiles & Design (current)

Diploma of Business
Diploma of Business Administration
Diploma of Leadership and Management
Diploma of Work Health and Safety
Disploma of Project Management
Diploma of Security and Risk Management
Diploma of Government
Diploma of Government Security
Certificate IV in Human Resources
Certificate III in Electrical Engineering
Bachelor of Psychology (half complete)