Frequently Asked Questions About Fine Art Portraiture

Q – What is the first step?
A – I meet with you to learn exactly what kind of portrait you want. Some of the things we consider are the number of subjects in the portrait, where the portrait will hang, what style of clothes the subject(s) will wear. There are a number of factors that affect the design of the painting and these are thoroughly discussed.
Q – What is a casual portrait?
A – The poses and settings are more relaxed than in a traditional portrait. For example, the background might be a park or garden, the subjects might be looking at each other, playing a game, or engaging in some enjoyable activity or hobby. The casual portrait is ideal for families to express their warmth and love.
Q – How can we be certain we will like the portrait?
A – The biggest problem in painting portraits has always been the selection of the pose and expression. I’ve solved that with the use of high quality photographic reference that allows you to choose the pose and expression before the first drop of paint touches the canvas. This clear communication between artist and client eliminates 90% of the problems found in portraiture.
Q – How do you get the colors right?
A – After the photographs are taken and the pose and expression are chosen I make color notes of each subject. That’s when I capture the complexion, hair and eye colors directly from life, ensuring an accurate portrayal. The initial conference, photography and color notes usually takes about three hours. 
Q – What happens next?
A – In my studio I paint a small version of the portrait called a “quarto.” The quarto allows us to make certain the composition, color harmony, and overall look of the painting is just right. When you approve the quarto the painting of the portrait begins.
Note: There is no quarto done for a head and shoulders portrait.
Q – Where does this happen?
A – The initial conference, photographic session and color notes are done in your residence or place of business at no additional cost.
Q – What if the person is not available to have photographs taken?
A – Many times a person is not available, such as when planning a memorial portrait, or when the painting is to be a surprise.  In this case, I will work with your available photographs. You should provide several and together we will choose the best one for the pose and expression and use the others for reference to hair, eyes, skintones, clothes, jewelry, eyeglasses and general understanding of the likeness and personality. These photos should be as clear, sharp and large as possible. However, in the case of someone who has passed away, I realize you may not have ideal photos to work with.  At such times I will ask for your feedback to adjust the painting as necessary in order to produce the best possible portrait from the material available. (Please see the section on Testimonials.)
Q – Can you include my pet in the portrait?
A –  Possibly. If your dog, cat, bird, etc. is well behaved, I may be able to include him/her when I am photographing you. Photos can be mixed & matched within the same session if they have the same lighting and point of view. If the animal will not cooperate, it may be possible to work with your own snapshot, but since the lighting and point of view often differ from the person’s, I often recommend in this case to portray the pet separately. There is an extra charge for the animal, depending on the size of the painting and how much of the animal is included.