The Portrait Commission Process

What Happens

Initial Visit: I begin the commissioned portrait process by traveling to my client’s location for one or two days to collect necessary information. My purposes are to get to know the subject, discuss the details of the portrait, and develop the pose, clothing, and setting. The client and I also decide upon scope, size, location where the portrait will hang, and all other variables that will help me present the
subject in a creative manner.

Creating Reference Materials. During the initial visit, I take digital photos of the subject, which takes an hour or two. My client and I review them on my laptop computer and together decider which images I will use as references while creating the portrait in my studio. I often also have the subject pose so that I can complete a sketch in oils of my client’s head and shoulders and sometimes hands. This takes two or three hours. I find these oil sketches invaluable when planning and developing the final portrait.

Painting the Portrait: I begin work back in my studio using this sketch, these photos, and my impressions from visiting with the subject. I may contact the client thereafter to discuss composition or other elements in more detail, and may send the client simplified images that present an overall impression of how the painting will develop. When the painting is between half and two-thirds completed, I
present it to the client for comments. Before or after this point, I may request an additional sitting either in my studio or at the client's location. Additionally, I usually require a final sitting to complete the portrait.

Other Concerns:.I keep all photos, sketches, layouts, and artwork that I create as references to aid in creating the final painting. These are not for sale. Additionally, I retain the right to reproduce smaller images of the final painting on my website and in promotional materials.

My Purpose: I strive to make this process exciting, enjoyable, and easy for the client and subject. While our relationship remains professional, I create my best work when the client, subject, and I work closely together and share one vision underlying my artistic creation.



I routinely finish commissioned portraits 12 months after the initial sitting and photo shoot. Sittings begin shortly after contract signing.


What It Costs

Fees start at $3,500 for small, simple portraits. More extensive portraits cost more; the amount depends upon the size and complexity of the work. All travel, lodging,
framing and shipping expenses are in addition to this price, as are all taxes.

1st Payment: I require payment of one third of the portrait price up front. This is non-refundable.

2nd Payment: I present the painting to the client when it is between half and two thirds completed. I require the second one-third payment at this time. If the client is not satisfied with the painting’s progress, he or she can decline payment and terminate the project, in which case I keep the painting.

3rd Payment: I require the last one-third payment, plus all sales tax, upon delivery of the finished painting.

Expenses: I require payment within 30 days of my submission to the client of a bill for travel, lodging, framing, and/or shipping expenses. These payments are non-
refundable and due even if the client opts to terminate the project before completion.


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