Procedure for a Portrait Commission
At the first session we would talk about your desires for the portrait, especially the pose, setting, background, and how much of the figure you would like included. We should consider if you prefer the portrait to be formal, or to have the subject engrossed in some familiar activity. Any special requirements would be discussed at this time. We would also agree whether the portrait will be painted from life or primarily from photographs, and if from life, where the sittings will be held. At the end of this session we would be able to quote a firm price.
Next I like to spend some time with the subject to become familiar with his/her appearance, personal interests, spirit, and mannerisms so that I may better capture the essence of their persona. I will take many photographs and perhaps make a sketch or two. This meeting may take an hour or two, and would preferably be held at a place where the subject feels comfortable and at ease, but that also fits the agreed upon theme of the portrait discussed during the first session.
At the next meeting, we would go over the photos and sketches, decide on a pose, clothing, background, and any other specific requirements.
Although painting from life is the ideal for portraits, a portrait can be painted solely from one or several photographs. The artist and client will have to decide in advance if enough information is available in the photographs to satisfy expectations.
If the portrait is to be done exclusively from photographs, I will do a detailed sketch for approval before starting on the painting. When the painting is nearly finished, another visit with the subject will be required to make sure eye, flesh, hair, etc. color tones are correct, and to make sure the likeness is satisfactory.
If done from life, the painting will require three to six sittings of two to three hours each, depending on model availability. The preliminary sketch will be done at the first sitting. Photographs will be taken at that sitting both to permit work to proceed between sittings, and to document the pose and lighting to facilitate future sittings.
The portrait will typically take two to four months to complete.