How does the process work?
For a step by step overview, click HERE. You can find a basic price list on the main menu above under "COMMISSIONS"
How long does it take?
Completion time varies depending on the type and complexity or the portrait. Most head and shoulders pastels take 10 to 14 weeks to complete. Oil paintings require more drying time between layers of paint and therefore require about 14 to 16 weeks. If you need a portrait for a special occasion, let me know and I will do my best to work with your time frame. During the holiday season completion times are longer. Please make holiday portrait arrangements before October 1st.
Do I see a sketch first?
I do not make small sketches for approval before creating a portrait. I create the work and when it is finished to my satisfaction we meet for delivery. At that time I can make minor changes to your piece if necessary.
What determines the size of the paintings?
I price by subject matter rather than size. Because I prefer traditional portraiture, I try to stay within the traditional rule of thumb which is 2/3 life-size up to life-size...no larger. One common exception is for horse portraits which are often slightly smaller. The reason I prefer to work this way is to preserve important details and provide the best possible likeness. Head and shoulders portraits of children usually measure 24 X 18 unframed. Adult head and shoulders portraits are typically 24 X 20 or 30 X 24 unframed. Size will increase as more of the subject is included or additional subjects are added. I am not as concerned about size as I am providing the best possible composition. I will consider commissions for smaller pieces but please contact me for details.
I don't live near St. Louis. May I still commission a portrait?
Yes you may! Try reading my PHOTO GUIDELINES for tips on taking your own photos. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
I want to see something in person. May I?
I hope so! The best way to do this is to visit the gallery at Heartland Art Club where I volunteer and exhibit samples of my work. It is located in Kirkwood, Missouri. Of course most artists are now displaying their portfolios online. I try to provide a large body of sample work on my website for this purpose. Most of my commissions come by referral so chances are you have already seen a real portrait at the home of a friend or relative. Don't worry. I guarantee your satisfaction. People like you are my advertising!
What are pastels?
Pastels are typically sticks of pure powdered pigment held together with a minimal amount of a binding agent. They feel like and are applied much like chalk (though they are not chalk). Pastel paintings are just as long lasting as oil paintings but need to be framed behind glass to protect them from smearing. They are wonderful for portraits, especially vignettes (head and shoulders).
What are oil paints?
Oil paintings are created with paints made from pigment suspended in a drying oil. Paintings are done on prepared panels or traditional canvas. There are many layers of paint involved in creating an oil portrait in addition to intervals of drying time but the possibilities are endless!
What is the difference between pastels and oil paints?
In terms of overall style, there isn't a lot of difference. My "style" is fairly consistent. Pastel paintings need to be framed behind glass and require a space between the artwork and the glass to prevent smudging. Once framed, they are as durable in color as oil paintings. Oil paintings are not framed behind glass and are less fragile for this reason.
Do you prefer oils or pastels?
Thankfully, I have no preference and enjoy both. The choice of whether to commission an oil or pastel painting really boils down to personal preferences.
Why are oil paintings more expensive than pastel paintings? Oil paintings require intervals of drying time between many layers. They also require more time to create. Pastels, though layered as well, do not require any drying time. Overall, pastels require less time to complete. This time differential is reflected in the pricing structure.
Did you know I can make prints of your portrait? They make great gifts for grandparents and other family members.
Sisters at Piano
Oil on panel
Man with Dog
Oil on panel
What material do you work on?
For pastel paintings I most often work on a premium sanded pastel paper called Uart Sanded Pastel Paper. This surface does a wonderful job of holding the pastel so that spraying with a fixative becomes unneccessary and can in fact be harmful to pastel paintings. For oil paintings I prefer to work on a prepared panel but do sometimes work on stretched canvas. The panels are a wood composite that is at least double-primed and provides a sturdy surface for oil paintings. Stretched canvas is susceptible to puncture and I often like to avoid that risk.
I want to send you a photo. What do I need to know?
Start by reading my PHOTO GUIDELINES. If you have questions after that, please contact me.
Does my decor matter? What if I want a specific background color?
Yes and no. I do want to hear your preferences and it helps to know where the portrait will hang. Most of the time I keep the background colors neutral so that as your decor changes you don't need to worry about your portrait fitting in. If you have a color preference, let's discuss it. I am open to suggestions.
What should my child wear?
I recommend something classic and timeless. Avoid very bright colors or intricate patterns such as gingham. Don't buy something just for the portrait. For example, if you have a gingham outfit, I can paint it as a solid color.
What should and adult wear?
Again, I recommend something classic and timeless. Avoid very bright colors or intricate patterns. Professional attire for a portrait that will be displayed to the public or in a business setting is ideal. For portraits of adults in a home setting, the attire can certainly be more casual to reflect the individual's personality.
Can you change clothing color?
Yes, in most cases I can. The style of clothing is far more important than the color. It's best to keep the clothing as timeless as possible. Find clothing you like and we can discuss changing the color.
I don't see a sample of a dog breed (or cat or horse) like mine. How do I know you can make my pet look like my pet?
Well, I paint what I see to the best of my ability. After doing this for many decades and painting hundreds of pets I am confident I can paint YOUR pet. As an animal lover I know that your Golden Retriever is unique. Your pet will look like your pet.
What if I am disappointed with the photos you take?
It happens. Most children behave extremely well for other people and do a great job. Occasionally, they are tired or just having a bad day. If you are disappointed with the expressions you see in the photos I have taken I will happily retake the photos one more time to try to get better results. If the photos are of an adult and for some reason the facial expression isn't ideal, I will happily take photos one more time. The same is true for pets.
May I purchase a print of my portrait for grandparents, relatives or my business?
Yes you may. I try to make it a habit to photograph my work clearly enough to reproduce. Please let me know prior to delivery of your artwork if you would like additional prints. In some cases I can print your piece myself. Let's talk about it.