It’s pretty easy actually. It really just starts with a conversation.
You probably already have a subject in mind and that’s why you’re reading this. Other things to think about ahead of time are size of the painting, your budget and schedule (for instance if the painting is a gift). You can also decide to give the commission as a gift so that the recipient can participate in the process!
I work in oil paint and gouache. I also offer graphite (pencil) for more limited budgets. Gouache is an opaque watercolor like a finely ground tempera paint. Oil has a richer quality and is generally more durable, lasting generations. (See examples of both in my Commissioned Portraits gallery). Gouache is delicate and, along with graphite and charcoal, needs to be framed with a mat and glass, whereas oil does not. All paintings may be custom framed under my direction, as an option.
My price list is available upon request and prices vary depending on the paint media, the painting’s size and the number of figures. Travel, shipping expenses, and framing options may add to the price.
Clients may choose a portrait based on either an extensive photo shoot, or a traditional live sitting. I can also work from existing photos if necessary, but doing my own photography is best for developing compositional ideas, as well as forming valuable impressions of the subject’s personality. After discussing the photos with the client, I create a preliminary sketch in color for the client to consider. Once approved by the client, I begin the final painting.
Payment is generally split into thirds with one third of the total due at the photo shoot stage, the second when the preliminary sketches are approved, and the last payment upon the delivery of the finished painting.