One of the most frequent inquiries I receive are about portrait commissions. This is a post all about this process.
1 | Get in touch - Decide on basics
It all starts with you getting in touch with me and letting me know what you had in mind. For some, this is very specific, while others only have a very loose idea. At a minimum, I need to know the subject matter and size. Not sure what size? Let me know where you plan to hang the finished piece in your home, and I can help you find the appropriate size. Photos of the space along with dimensions are immensely helpful.
2 | Quote - Payment
With the size of your piece decided, I will send you a quote for your piece, along with any additional shipping/delivery costs and an estimated timeline for completion. In general, pricing starts at $1 per square inch. So for example, a 20" x 24" piece would be 480 square inches, and therefore $480. A painting at 36" x 48" would start at $1728. Additional fees may be added if your commission requires special materials or time.
Payment can be made online and is required before I begin on your painting. All sales are final. However, you can cancel for a full refund if I have not yet begun painting.
3 | Subject Information
I will need at least 2-3 photos of the subject that follow these guidelines:
- Subject should be mostly expressionless
- Closed mouth
- Eyes not directly looking at the camera (just to the side or above camera is perfect)
- Positioning should be 3/4 profile or front-on
- Adequately lit so that contours are visible and not flooded out
- Entire head and partial shoulders should be visible
It is also really helpful me to know more about who this person is. What are some of the most prominent aspects of their personality?
4 | Color Palette
One of the most important elements of my artwork is the color palette. I use color to capture a mood as well as the subject's personality. Beyond this, we also need to make sure this piece works in your home! So the colors present in the room where it will hang will also be strongly considered. You may also have certain colors you love or hate! All of this will factor in.
After we discuss the above, I will start working on the palette. I will create a small color study on matboard to find the right balance. I'll send you a photo of one or more color studies to get your final approval before I begin on the main piece.
5 | Time to Paint!
My process for painting a portrait is as follows:
- Build up background layers - Using the palette we have decided on, I'll apply several layers of paint (and sometimes glazes) to the entire canvas.
- Photo selection and sketch - When the background is complete, I will decide on the main photo I will use for the actual portrait. Using my computer software and digital sketch pad, I'll make a line drawing from the photo. I will then project that image on to the canvas so I can transfer the sketch.
- Painting the portrait - Now I start putting in all the dark and light values from our palette to fill out the image of the subject.
6 | Edits
When the portrait is complete, I will send you photos to review. While I cannot make big changes, I can usually accommodate little tweaks if you see something that is throwing off your eye. Or maybe you want a little more of a certain color in the background, etc.
7 | Final Approval & Delivery
When the piece is finished and approved, it will need to dry fully for about a week before I wrap it for shipping. I will also wire it on the back so you can easily hang your piece when you receive it. Your painting will be carefully and securely wrapped for shipping. Please note that I am not able to personally deliver your painting. Your painting will be sent via UPS, or if you are in the Kansas City area, a courier option will be presented depending on the size.
Interested in getting started? Head here to fill out the form!