the portrait process

there is a degree of anxiety among clients who commission portraits due to the fact that they may have not done this before or have done it with an artist whose process is completely different. here is my advice—take a look at some of the portraits on this website and ask yourself this question: "what if my face is painted in this exact way?" if your answer is "i would love it!" then you’re good, if it is "not sure" then this adventure may not be for you.

here are some typical questions i get in no particular order:

do i have to sit for my portrait or i can just give you a photo?

i really like my clients to sit for a portrait for at least a couple of sessions, with each session lasting 3-5 hours (with breaks!), but it is individual to each project. there are instances when I would have a photo session with you and would work using those photos. if i can give you any advice it would be—be flexible if you can, you’ll like the outcome better.

how long does it take to complete?

as with any creative job it is not always easy to say, but usually a painting takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on various factors. charcoal or pastel portraits can take as little as 1 to 3 sittings over the period of a week or so.

do i get to decide the pose and the size? can i decide if it is a whole figure or just a head?

yes, we do this initial planning together. we will have a meeting prior to starting to discuss your pose, clothing, and surroundings.

do i have to be nude?

of course not, but if you wish to pose nude or semi-nude, let me know.

ok, so can i wear anything i want?

i would really like to talk to you about what you would be wearing. some colors and textures do not work well in a painting, for example.

can i decide which medium will be used—oil, acrylic, pastel, or charcoal?

yes, this is definitely a part of our intial conversation.

can i tell you what my favorite colors are and can we use them?

it is certainly great to hear anything about you, especially if it is visual. here i can be surprisingly negotiable if you make a good case.

can i say—i love the way you paint the form but i would like for the colors not to be so vivid?

painting is much like composing music—many moving pieces have to work well together and the portrait is ready when the final piece of a puzzle clicks into place. you can certainly ask—after all led zeppelin composed "stairs to heaven"—although there are some heavier accents towards the end of that song.

is it ok to make suggestions and try to influence how my portrait looks?

absolutely! i actually encourage the sitter's input during the painting process.

is a portrait more expensive if it includes multiple people?

yes, generally the more people, the larger the portrait and the more detail and time involved.

I live in los angeles—will you come to my town and paint my portrait?

absolutely! you can count on me to come to any place warm at any time. of course, you need to be willing to cover the expense.

painting process