COMMISSIONING A PORTRAIT
Commissioning a fine portrait
be an entirely enjoyable and creative
experience. Toward achieving that
goal, we are pleased to provide this
overview of the following steps in the
1. Select the Artist
MastersofPortraitArt.com is pleased to bring you some of America's
foremost portrait painters all renowned artists who have
painted kings, presidents and prime ministers, as well as leaders
of the world's leading corporations, universities and institutions.
Each artist works in a distinctive and highly personal style. As
you browse through the examples of the artists' work included in
this site, you will find yourself responding to one or two of the
artists more than the others. This response is the first essential
step in deciding which artist will be best for your particular project
2. Fill out our Request
Please fill this out fully, checking off the artist(s) that most
We will contact you to further determine your needs and thoughts
regarding a portrait. Once the artist selection is narrowed down
and we've spoken with the artist to determine their interest and
availability for the project, we will put you in touch with them
so you can speak with them personally. From this point on, you will
be working directly with the artist although we are always available
3. Initial Communication with the Artist
Initially there will most likely be phone and/or email communications
with the artist. Depending on location considerations, you might
even have preliminary meetings at the artist's studio.
During this phase, you and the artist will work together to determine
details of the commission. Is the portrait to be formal or informal?
What will the subject wear? What will appear in the background?
Precisely what size will the canvas be? What might make a desirable
color scheme? Where will it hang? The artist will lead you through
these essential questions. The successful outcome of the portrait
begins to take shape.
You and the artist will also decide on a schedule and location for
the portrait preparation and sittings.
4. The Commissioning Agreement
Most artists will have some type of commission agreement which sets
forth the details and conditions of the project and the amount of
deposit. The percent of deposit can vary depending on the artist.
5. The Sittings and Preparation
Here, each artist will employ differing methodology. One artist
might conduct a thorough photographic sitting, to which the subject
is invited to bring a variety of clothing ensembles, while another
might work more from life. A variety of poses is attempted, and
various experimentations are made to find the most advantageous
and flattering lighting.
At a subsequent sitting, this exploratory step may be refined. Now
the artist, upon reflection, has decided on one (or, at the most,
two) desirable compositions. These final approaches are now refined.
The lighting is enhanced and fine-tuned. The final decisions are
made as to apparel and props. The final conception and form of the
painting begins now to emerge. The artist will make color sketches
and drawings as needed. At the conclusion of these preliminary sittings,
the artist will have amassed a considerable body of reference material
for later development back in the studio.
6. The Studio Work
Again, each artist approaches the task differently. Some will begin
the final canvas at the subject's location, only to refine the work
later in the privacy of the studio. Another artist will wait until
he returns to the studio to begin making the final design decisions.
In every case, however, there will now follow a period of intense
studio work during which the painting begins to assume its final
7. The Completion
Each artist has their own method regarding completion and approval
of the portrait. This can take place at the subject's location,
or in the artist's studio.
After all the finishing touches are complete, the painting is now
ready for delivery and final hanging.