Portrait Process

First, I will need to schedule a brief interview, which is best to hold on location where the portrait is planned to go. It is helpful to know where it will hang, what kind of background will best suit the room and mood you want to create with the painting. Once the size and style option decisions are finalized you will need to complete the Order Form and sign the Terms and Conditions. I also require a 30% down payment upfront which, once received, will secure your position on the waiting list.

After the paperwork is signed and down payment received, I will schedule at least one (up to three) 2-hour live sittings, if possible. If working from life not possible, we will schedule a photo shoot, which typically takes about an hour. These photos will be my primary references for the painting (See FAQs below for additional details about supplying your own photo references).

Even if the portrait is done from a live sitting, often scheduling and previous commitments may require a wait. Depending on my waiting list and the style of portrait you are purchasing, your wait can be as little as a few weeks or as much as several months. I always try to give you my best estimate in the planning stages so you know what to expect. That said, portraits seem to always turn out best when I am not working on a tight deadline. Sometimes, I will even start completely over–more than once–to make sure it’s perfect. If you have a special date by which you need the portrait completed, see FAQs below for details of how I typically meet that request.

I always welcome feedback and want to make sure you are happy. Please feel free to request any changes that you feel need to be made. Once the portrait is approved, the remaining 70% payment is required prior to receipt. Even after the final payment, the portrait will still require time for drying and varnishing before shipment.

I use a two-stage step for varnishing oil paintings. The first light coat of retouch varnish can be applied within weeks of completing the painting. This will protect the painting fairly well and I know many painters who do only this step. The 2nd coat is thicker and more protective but should not be applied for six months (the painting must be completely dry at its deepest layers or the thick varnish will cause cracking). So far, all of my clients have chosen to take the painting before the 6-months dry time. If, however, you’d like to have the 2nd coat of varnish applied, I’m happy to do so at your request.


Pricing Add-Ons

50% above base price for any additional subjects on the same order.

50% above base price for a 3/4 portrait including hands.

70% above base price for a full figure portrait including hands and feet.

Varies from 25%-50% above base price depending on the complexity involved.

20% less than base price or other add-ons.


How long does it take to commission a portrait?

Completion time largely depends on the length of my waiting list (which varies depending on the time of year) and the type of portrait style you choose. Monochromes are fastest, full-color sketches are pretty fast, but full-color and full-background highly finished paintings can take months. You will receive your priority on the waiting list after an order form is completed, the terms and conditions are accepted, and the 30% down payment is received. I can then give you a date to expect delivery. Once the sitting is scheduled or photo shoot completed, it typically takes 1-3 months.

What are the payment terms?

A 30% non-refundable down payment is required, which secures your priority on the waiting list. After your final approval of the finished work of art, the remaining 70% is due in full prior to delivery. All invoices and receipts will be sent via email unless requested otherwise.

Do you work from photographs?

Ideally, I could do all portraits from life. Obviously this is not practical in many cases, especially if the subject is very young. Because I mainly draw on first-hand experience to best capture the subject’s unique character, however, I require–at minimum–the chance to spend some time with the subject and take my own reference photos. Very rarely, I have agreed to use third-party photos (i.e. for posthumous work). In these cases, good quality photographs are appreciated and multiple photos are preferred. If I can’t observe the subject in real life, multiple photographs makes it possible for me to study the subject in 2-D. If the reference that best represents the subject has been taken by a professional photographer, I would be in violation of copyright law if I were to copy it without permission. Using the image will require a one-time use of the copyright, in writing, before I can proceed.

What if I need the portrait by a special date?

If your deadline requires a rush delivery, often I can prioritize your order for a nominal fee of $75. However, this is not always possible due to prior commitments. If I can not meet your special day, I will provide you with a special gift package. Although the portrait may arrive late, the recipient will still have something to “open” and know that your gift is on its way!

Can I make prints and cards using the portrait image?

Yes, but only if purchasing the prints or cards with my permission and for a small fee. This is because while I am willing to sell the painting, I still retain the copyrights. It would be illegal for you to redistribute copies without my permission.