Commission a Portrait
The process is easier than you think
Having a painting done of yourself or someone important in your life is a very special experience.
Before the advent of the camera, portrait paintings played an important role in documenting and celebrating important figures in society- usually the upper classes who could afford to commission a painter.
With the proliferation of digital images a painting is even more special. But now access is not limited to the wealthy- it is very affordable.
How are paintings different to photographs?
Paintings are very different to photographs. In my opinion, they can convey more about a person and generate more energy. This maybe because of the layers of paint involved and the time it takes to create the painting.
The artist is also allowed to play with backgrounds, scale and colours- creating environments that may not actually exist, to tell the story of the subject.
What’s involved in commissioning a painting?
I can either work form an existing photograph or we can take a new photograph specifically for the commission.
If it’s from an existing photograph all you need to do is email me. It is also helpful if we chat and you could tell me about the person too.
If you don’t want to use an existing photograph but do something new specifically for the painting then this is what we do:
i) First I take time to get to know you or the person I am painting. The more I know and understand them the better the painting will be. So it all starts with a chat and, distance allowing, maybe even a walk in the park.
ii) Next we sit down and chat about style and poses. There are lots of styles we could go for- romantic, serious, casual, thoughtful…
In terms of poses there is lots of choice again: read and shoulders, facing the viewer for on, or to the side. You might want a full body pose to include your outfit if that’s an important part of the painting.
There are many options and I’ll help you work though them to find what’s right for your painting.
iii) We also talk about the size of the painting and where it might be positioned in your home.
What’s the most important thing to consider when commissioning a portrait?
I like to ask these questions:
What do you want the painting to say? Is there a story to tell?
What aspect of the person do you want the painting to capture?
What sort of image of yourself do you want to portray?
As you can see there is a lot of preparation before we start the painting.
When we’ve decided on style, pose and ‘message’ I’ll then do some test shots with my camera and maybe some initial drawings. We then decide broadly on the composition.
Composition means how everything is placed within the square or rectangle of the painting.
Once we are happy with the composition and what’s to be included in the painting, I have all I need to work on the painting in my studio.
This is a painting of Christine I completed earlier this year. It was commissioned by her husband for their 5th wedding anniversary.
“Prith created an exquisite piece of art for me which was truly first class, all the family love it. She has given us a portrait of great quality and beauty.
She was a joy to deal with throughout, setting and meeting timescales and explaining the whole process. Her energy is enviable. We will commission her again.” Christine Bell, February 2020
Does what I wear matter for the painting?
What you wear for the painting is important as your clothes say a lot about you. It’s an important element of our discussion. You might want to wear your best outfit, or maybe your most comfortable. It is all up to you.
In the painting below, clothing was key. The man in the painting was well known for his snazzy suits and ties, so a full length pose was essential to tell the story of who he was.
“How amazing, it captures a moment in time, Lindsay’s style (dapper Doyle ) and his charity work with the Noahs Ark children’s hospital.
Ethan’s nature has been captured, a love of life, his kindness and love for his dad. An amazing memory on canvas to treasure and pass on.’ Sharon Doyle (Lindsay’s wife). May 2020
What sort of paint do you use?
I use oil paint on high quality Windsor & Newton canvas.
Do I have to sit for the painting?
No, I work from photographs. Although if distance allows, doing part of the painting from ‘life’ i.e. you sitting in front of me would be great.
Do I have to have special make-up or hair like for photoshoots?
Definitely not. I would rather paint you as you are- do your hair and makeup as you normally would. If you want to dress up or bring some props like a hat or a fascinator- we can play with ideas.
How long does a painting take?
It usually takes 6-8 weeks for the painting to be completed. In terms of painting hours for me, it is likely to be a minimum of 30 hours of work. I take breaks in between so that I can see the painting with fresh eyes and also to let the layers of paint dry.
What about nudes? Boudoir poses?
For portraits of women I do offer the option of having ‘tasteful nudes.’ These can be fantastic as ‘presents for him’ or ‘her’ They are ideally placed in the bedroom where there is restricted viewing. Although in the lounge would be awesome too!
For more options about paintings of women click here for ‘This is Me!’ Portraits of women.
How is it delivered?
The painting will either be delivered personally or sent via a specialist art courier so that it is handled with care.
How much does a commissioned portrait cost?
The starting price for an oil painting is £550. The price depends on the size and complexity of what you want.
A painted portrait really is something for life. It won’t fade like a photo might and can be passed on to loved ones.
Is it framed?
I can arrange for it to be be framed if required, but you may want to do this yourself locally, so you can select the frame to match your interior design scheme.
What if I don’t like it?
I have very high standards and it will only leave my studio if I am happy with it. In the unlikely event of you not being satisfied, you will not have to pay for it. There is however a non-refundable £95 deposit which I charge to cover materials.
If you would like to chat about a having a portrait painted I am happy to answer any more of your questions. Please get in touch.
You can either either email me, click here, or give me a call 07966 872786