So, you would like to commission a portrait
…but you’re not sure where to start. Commissioning a portrait can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience and, depending on your choice of artist, need not be an expensive luxury. It is a collaborative exercise, where you should feel very much involved in the creative process. There are just a few things you should think about first, which all have a bearing on the cost.
- Style: are you going for a relaxed or more traditional pose? Casual or formal clothing?
- The pose: Full figure, half figure, or head study? This choice will partly dictate the size.
- Size: Where will you hang the painting? Are you going for impact?
- The setting: The sitter is often more comfortable posing in their own home. A well considered background can say something about the sitter.
The next step is to get in touch.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t decide yet on the size or pose; I’m happy to advise. A lot depends on how the sitter wants to be portrayed; which face they want to show to the world.
I have a clear pricing structure, with the final price agreed at the start. Prices for a head and shoulders 40 x 50cm portrait, in oil on canvas, start from just £380. Email me at email@example.com for more information.
The final price is agreed before I start. I don’t need a deposit for head & shoulders or half body poses, up to 60x70cm. Anything larger will require a deposit to cover the extra cost of materials.
I will only ask for payment when you are happy with the finished painting.
Can you work from photos?
Yes, I can. But only for head and shoulders poses, and only when the photo is good enough. What looks fine as a photo, won’t necessarily make a good painting. Feel free to get in touch if you’re not sure if a photo is suitable.
How many sittings are required?
Ideally, I like to have at least one “in person” sitting. They last about 3-4 hours. I spend the time working out the best pose, and making drawings, and at the end, I will take some reference photos.
I find this session is an important stage in the creative process. The act of looking and drawing will teach me far more about the sitter than any photo can. I can often get enough material in one sitting to complete the painting. However, I do like to have the option for a second sitting, just in case something doesn’t quite work out when put on canvas
Where will the sitting take place?
Because of social distancing regulations, I am not permitted visitors to my studio (I explained the situation in this blog post here), so unfortunately I can not arrange sittings there; at least for the next few months.
I’m happy to travel to a client’s home for a sitting, but if outside London, I will have to charge additionally for travelling expenses.
So, you still want to commission a portrait, but now you know what to do.
Find an artist.
Contact an artist.
Discuss what you want.
If you like my work and have any questions about commissioning an artwork, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org