Commission a Portrait from a Photo in Marin County

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Commission Process Explained

The commission process is a leap of faith. To keep it down to earth, I like to have a written contract with the client that specifies expectations and quantifies changes.  This document will evolve from a conversation, it is not boilerplate. I want it to address your concerns and mine. Progress photos are part of the process. A 30% non refundable advance is required before I start work.

Here are some guidelines for working with me to achieve a commissioned portrait that you will love.

 1.  Provide a photograph that is crisp,clear and has a strong light source.  A good photo for painting is not a snapshot.  Expert lighting will give the face dimension and add interest.

There are professional photographers available at places like Blink  that take 100 photos for a nominal fee:  $25 for 10 minutes + $10 a photo.

Make sure emailed photos are forwarded with the resolution at actual size or large.

2.  While some artists use a projector to transfer a photo to the canvas, I like to use a grid and hand draw the face. I find that a 2:1 ratio works well on my 20" x 20" canvases.  The finished painting is classically inspired but has a contemporary look because the square canvas is unexpected. Negative space frames the face so it commands attention.

3.  The third step in my process is a line drawing that maps the key elements of the face on the canvas as well as the position of the head. How the face is placed on the canvas will be discussed with you in advance.

Think of this as a cartoon. It should have the look of the subject, but it is not a fully realized drawing and will not convey the essence, or personality of the subject.

4. The grisaille is the where the rubber meets the roadThis is a tonal painting that sets the values of the face for the addition of color.  At this point the client should see the face of the subject in the painting.

The results will be discussed with the client via direct conversation. I expect changes. The number of changes to be made will have been agreed in advance per the contract.

If after changes have been made, and the client is still not satisfied, the project will be terminated. The 30% fee is non -refundable.

5. Color is the final stage. 
As best as possible the exact colors in the photo will be duplicated. Background colors are usually complementary.

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