JOHN HOWARD SANDEN
The portrait process begins with two sittings, ideally on consecutive
days, each of approximately ninety minutes duration. These sittings
can take place in the artist's New York studio, or at the subject's
home, office or other location. In the course of these two sittings,
the size and "spirit" of the portrait is decided upon,
and the questions of pose, lighting, costume, setting and expression
are decided, through discussion and experimentation. Extensive
photographic reference material is created to allow the artist
to proceed after the sittings conclude.
THE PRELIMINARY STUDY
Back in the studio, the artist prepares a small preliminary
visualization of the proposed portrait. The client and the subject
are often invited to comment on this preliminary.
THE FRAME IS ORDERED
At this point, the final size of the painting is determined;
the canvas is stretched, using the finest Belgian linen, double-primed
with a fine titanium ground. The frame is ordered, allowing
the work of hand-carving and gilding to proceed as the work
on the painting goes forward.
Now there follows a sustained period of studio work in which
the details of the composition are developed, one by one, and
in concert. The artist brings the painting as near to completion
as possible. A final sitting or sittings is now required.
THE FINAL SITTING(S)
The final sitting takes place either at the New York studio or
at the subject's location. If the latter, the painting is shipped
(in its final frame) to the location. As the subject sits, the artist
makes the crucial finishing touches. Often, close family members or
associates are invited to provide input. The painting is now finished,
and ready for display.