Have you ever thought about commissioning a nude portrait painting?
You’re not that unusual if you have. I receive plenty of enquiries about such commissions. In fact, almost half the commissions I have worked on were for nude portraits, and I am sure I would receive many more enquiries if people didn’t feel slightly awkward asking about them.
The simple answer to the question “can you paint me nude?” is yes. I don’t see much distinction between a nude portrait and a more conventional portrait. The preparations for both are much the same. I like to arrange an in-person sitting if possible, during which I will make several drawings, trying out different poses. Once a pose has been selected, I will take a reference photo, and use that along with the drawings to create a painting.
I can have sittings in my studio, or am happy to travel to the client’s home. That’s often the best option, as the sitter is more likely to feel at ease in their home environment.
It often turns out that the best poses are not planned for, but can happen by chance. The light might fall on the body in a particular way; a fleeting expression might say more about you than a carefully prepared pose. By having a three hour sitting, we’re more likely to happen upon that one elusive pose that says what you want to say.
The most important step is finding out what the sitter wants from the painting. Everyone has a different reason for commissioning a portrait – nude or conventional. Understanding why you want your likeness painted will help me decide how to paint you.
Is a nude portrait the best way to boost your self-esteem?
Last year I was contacted by journalist/author Radhika Sanghani who was writing a feature on women who have commissioned naked portraits of themselves to celebrate their bodies. It was something she had personally done, and she was looking to be put in touch with women who had done the same. None of my customers wanted to be contacted (possibly because the story was destined for the Daily Mail), but Radhika managed to finish her article, and you can read it here: Is a nude portrait the best way to boost self esteem
I found it particularly interesting reading three different stories for why people had commissioned a nude portrait of themself.
Can I paint your nude portrait from photos?
It might be impractical for you to have in-person sittings. In that case I can paint from photos you provide, but they will have to be of adequate quality. I am happy to advise; it is possible to have a preliminary chat via Zoom-call, where I can give advice about the pose and lighting. Expensive cameras aren’t necessary. It is more important to avoid lens distortion and to get the correct lighting. Both are achievable with a good phone camera.
The most exciting thing about painting portraits is also the most daunting thing: there are such endless possibilities for how to paint someone, it’s a challenge knowing where to start. It might help looking at examples of nude portraits, by myself and other artists (photos or paintings), just to get some ideas.
If you are thinking about commissioning a nude portrait, feel free to contact me with any questions. I am always happy to chat, with no obligation. Embarking on a portrait commission is a collaborative exercise between the artist and the sitter. It should be both rewarding and enjoyable, and can be more affordable than you expect.
More information at How to Commission a Portrait