Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Big Family Portrait Just Completed By A Professional Artist

I have never attempted a family portrait with eleven people! What was I thinking? Oh yea, I needed the money! After about two months working off and on,the painting is now in my client's hands and she loves it. The acrylic is 20"X24" on stretched canvas. I did a pencil study sketch from a Christmas photo when the family gathered together. The pencil study was important, because it helped me get familiarized with all of the facial features and value patterns. I then put the sketch in my studio copier and enlarged it to painting size. The enlarged copy was tapped over my canvas with a transfer paper slipped in between the copy and the canvas. The blue lines you see is the transfered outline of the family members. Finally the canvas goes onto my easel with the small 8"X10" color family photo next to it. After that, every step of the painting is done by eyeball. I tell my students that a painting is started with large, rough, crude shapes, then the painting is slowly and methodically "polished to a beautiful shine". Here is a piece of good advice if you accept a portrait commission: Write out a simple contract (you don't need to hire a lawyer) that states that you need half of the commission fee up front to start the painting. The remaining half is due upon delivery and BEFORE any potential corrections. You will provide one correction based on the client's feedback after you have shown them what you consider to be the completed painting (and remember that at this time the remaining commission fee is paid in FULL). After that, any more corrections are charged a correction fee. If you don't write in that last statement, a client could potentially have you make adjustments until the cows come home. I also might add that any potential client should be happy with your portraiture painting style and be more than willing to accept that style. Do NOT let the client dictate another style. No-nonsense business contracts like this protect an artist from being screwed and says that you are a PROFESSIONAL.

14 comments:

the art of the dance is like chocolate said...

this is absolutely wonderfully fantastically beautiful!

Carol Blackburn said...

Hi David, I love what you've done with this family portrait and you are to be commended for taking on such a big commission with all those family members. I find I often do better with two or more subjects than one alone, myself. Can't figure out why. Thanks for showing your process, too.

Paintings by Irit Bourla said...

This is amazing what a great work and thanks for sharing with us step by step proces.

Barbara M. said...

Hi David,
Fabulous painting. I love how you kept the style loose, and all the personalities are there. My clients sign a contract, but I like the correction clause. I think I'll add that in.

Fast and incredible work on this one.

You are great!

Your fan in Toronto.

David Lobenberg said...

Thank you my blogger buddies! (the art of..., Carol. Irit, and Barbara!)

Gary L. Everest Paintings said...

Hi David,
Fantastic job, but I knew you could do it! And thanks for the great advice about the contract and nitpicking fees.
Bravo David, Bravo.
Sincerely,
Gary.

AutumnLeaves said...

Gorgeous family and beautiful portrait, David. Your tips are perfect too!

Sue Pownall (aka travelingsuep) said...

Great portrait. What a huge undertaking, brilliantly done.

Plus, I like the advice about the contract. I don't do portraits but have a friend who does and will appreciate this.

David Lobenberg said...

Gary, yep, fellow portrait artist, that is exactly what it is..."nitpickin fees"!

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks, as always, Autumn and Sue!

Prabha N. said...

Beautiful Acrylic! Will keep in mind what you said if i ever take up one :)
Thanks David!

Amber Massey said...

Amazing painting! And thank you so much for the advice! I always have questions and concerns over things like this and it's so nice to be able to have insight like yours. Specially the correction fee, I wouldn't have thought about that.

Paz said...

Wow! GREAT job!

Paz

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks, Paz.