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.