Commissioning a Portrait

People often say to me that they would love to commission a portrait but they simply don't have the time to sit and the commissioning process is complicated isn't it? Well not really. It is a common preconception that commissioning and sitting for a portrait is a time consuming, difficult and expensive business - but it can be surprisingly simple.

So what does commissioning a portrait from me consist of? Well before any 'sitting' takes place there has to be some preliminary thought given to the potential portrait. For example who is in this portrait? One person? Or more? Do you want a Head and Shoulders or a sitting /standing pose? Where would you like the painting to hang? This will often determine the size and colour scheme of the portrait. How would you like to be seen? Pose and outfit need to be considered and do you want any objects included in the painting. Are we telling your story? Time scales - when do you want the painting? I am an oil painter so paintings depending on size can take up to six months to complete. Finally what is your budget? Once the brief has been finalized we can get down to the business of 'sitting'.

 Sitting these days is easy. High resolution cameras put the days of long sittings for months on end firmly in the past. Who has time for that? I normally ask for a two hour max. initial meeting to go over the brief and take photographs. A visit to my studio/ or a home visit involves a discussion on what you would like and the more I get to know you the better the portrait. This is followed by the photo session and - if you want it to be, that can be it! I can paint purely from my reference photos. Modern technology has dispensed with hours and hours of sitting - of course if a client has a little time to spare, an hour or two in the middle of the painting along with a check at the end might be desirable. In some instances I have been commissioned to paint a portrait of another member of a client’s family as a surprise gift and here I work solely from photographs supplied by the client.

Date Published:

August 30, 2017


Commissioning a Portrait

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