Portrait Commissions

My portrait painting technique represents realism but not photo-realism.  A portrait, I believe is commissioned as a commemoration of a memorable event, to celebrate a person’s life, an attempt to capture the ever-changing image of a child or as a family heirloom. I attempt to capture the spirit of this in my realism approach.

Every beautiful portrait is a collaboration between the artist and the subject or the commissioner. Given the situation at present, I paint only from photographs and it is essential that I get as good a reference as possible.   Examples of portraits I have painted recently will give an idea of my style and the result.

Every commission to me requires an individualized approach. I need to understand what you expect, your particular preferences, as much background information as is relevant to the final work, time deadlines and whether I can meet this.  My paintings are painted in the traditional painstaking manner where every single brush stroke is. meaningful. There are no short cuts or recourse to Photoshop, “painterly” software,   any digital trickery or slap-dash gimmickry.

My skill and experience lie really with portrait painting of people, the young, the old and all in-between, rather than claiming much experience in painting pets.

I paint with oils on stretched canvas selecting the best high- grade canvas and

oils, invariably Winsor and Newton. I usually work with canvas sizes ranging from 305mm x 406 mm approximately (12” X 16”), ; 406mm x 508mm approx. (16” x  20”) or for head and neck views even 300 mm x 300mm (12” x 12”).

Please remember this is the size of the actual canvas I work on. You will need to allow up to an extra 10cm (or 4”) all around for proper framing.

Oils are a time honoured medium and remain as permanent testaments but take notoriously long to achieve to perfection and to dry. From the point of time your commission is accepted to your receiving the finished portrait can take from 6-8 weeks.

You would need to specify the background for the portrait. You could opt for the one in the photograph or a ‘Studio Background’. In the latter, a simple background or similar tones or hues that will complement the portrait subject will be used.

If you prefer to have a preliminary varnish of the oil painting, you would need to let me know. Please remember that a final varnish, though not mandatory, can be applied only 6 months after the oil painting to allow time for the oils to dry’.

You do not need to get glass to frame the oil painting, however glass framing will keep it dust free, especially if unvarnished!

The range of prices for my work varies widely depending on a host of factors from painting a single subject to a family portrait, from just the head and neck to full length, the complexity of the apparel or jewellery worn, details of the background chosen, whether in colour or in sepia/monochrome tones.

If you have old black and white photographs, I can paint them in a sepia tones that retain the authenticity of the age and gives the portrait a nostalgic and stunning effect, instead of appearing like a photoshopped colour upgrade.

I do not frame any of the portraits and though happy to advise, prefer to leave the choice up to you.

The process involved in commissioning a portrait by me involves the following steps:

  1. Please send me a message through my Contact page adding your request and photo/photos for reference* and your expectations.
  2. I will then let you know if the photograph/s is what I require or request additional photographs. Once I find I can work with what you have sent, I can send you a table of my charges based on all the factors mentioned above and give you an quote for what you expect of the portrait.
  3. If you are happy to proceed, please let me know and I will mail a PayPal invoice for 40% of the deposit to be paid by PayPal or Bank Account
  4. I will send you a preview photograph of the finished painting before final payment by PayPal.
  5. I can post nationally as well as internationally, the mailing cost will be included (with a receipt of shipping charges involved) in the final quoted balance.
  6. The oil painting will be wrapped carefully in acid resistant glassine paper, then sandwiched between thermocole slabs and outer tough cardboard shields before being sent to you flat-packed by registered mail. You can be confident of the painting arriving intact.

*Please note the following guidelines for supplying the best reference photographs. I do not have the sitter before me and can only work with the best photograph you provide me with !

  •  I need a good sharp image taken in daylight with good lighting. This is best taken with even a basic digital camera rather than a mobile phone if at all possible
  • The best portraits are created with the subject facing not in a full-frontal pose nor profile only, but in a quarter- or semi- profile. If there are no other reference photographs, a full frontal will have to do.
  • If possible, please select one that has light coming in from one direction as this helps create beautiful light and shade effects I love to achieve in the oil portrait
  • It would help if you send me more than one photograph, so I can study the subject from different angles. You would need to specify which image you would prefer to be painted if indeed you are sending me more than one as reference material.
  • To avoid lens distortion, please do not stand too close to the subject. You can stand further back and use the zoom facility to reduce lens distortion, but be aware that on some smart phones this reduces image quality.
  • I would need the highest quality images you have – as a guide high pixels and dpi< 10 MB would be ideal.


Other Commissions

If you are interested in having any of my photographs converted to art, please contact me via the contact form.