I began my artistic life drawing and painting people’s likenesses, with the general rule that the quicker they transformed on the paper or canvas, the better. They were intense moments where I would work all night, using photographs and props, sometimes working from life, and did not stop until the face was born. The rest of the work is secondary. The natural highs I would get from depicting a face was extraordinary.
Commissioned portraiture did become the start to becoming a professional artist, and I was able to leave a normal full time job to pursue it, and I still consider it one of my most favourite past times. Interestingly it forms the core of what I am doing now, that is, realistic faces within an abstract environment.
I prefer working from photographs that I have taken of the sitter and I always try and meet with the sitter to see them in the flesh and get to know them a little. I like to know something about the person that I am to paint; what their interests are etc, what their general mannerisms and energy are like. The clothing and background is then discussed and I will produce a small drawn study of roughly how the clothing and background is to look. This is to give the patron an idea of how the portrait will look. This will also be accompanied by a quotation. Price will vary depending on the amount of work in the clothing and background.
Once the portrait has been agreed upon I then return to the studio and begin painting. I generally only use oils for portraiture as I find acrylics too restrictive. The face is the first thing that I paint. As it is paramount that the face is an accurate likeness of the sitter, it is at this stage that I can show the patron the likeness. If the patron is pleased with the likeness I then require a 50% deposit. If the patron does not believe the likeness is true they do not have to continue with the commission. If however, the patron likes the portrait I will then proceed with the clothing and background.
Painted portraiture generally starts at $4,500 with a canvas 91cm x 91cm. This is a guide only.
Again, I prefer to work from photographs, particularly as children find it extremely challenging to sit still. I also prefer to take the photographs but am happy to work with photographs that are provided to me if I consider them sufficient to work from. I always work from several images of the sitter to get the best impression possible.
A sketched portrait in the style of those below costs $900. If the patron does not deem the likeness to be accurate they are under no obligation to purchase the drawing. Payment is not required until after the drawing is completed.
I began my artistic career as a self taught portrait painter and much of my early portraiture was Impressionist in style but as time passed, the faces became more and more realistically painted. Below are some of the first portraits that I did. My sister was my best and most patient model.