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Q: How do I go about commissioning a portrait?

A: After a portrait inquiry I will meet with the prospective client to discuss the purpose and subject of the commission and the medium requested.  Many times the client is unsure of which medium to order and I will describe how each medium works.  The next step is to set up a photo session at which time I will take photos with 35 mm film as well as digital photos.  We will decide on medium, size and price at this time and a 50% non-refundable deposit is paid when the contract is signed. 
     I sometimes use photograph references supplied by the client, especially if it is posthumous commission.  I must determine the quality of the reference before using it.
     After the photos are ready I will meet with the client to discuss poses, backgrounds, etc.  The next step is a series of thumbnail sketches in pencil, which I can email to give the client a visual of the composition.  When that is approved, I will accept a deposit and proceed with the final portrait.  At the conclusion of the portrait I can take digital photos and email the images to the client for approval before final touches are made according to any suggestions the client may make.  The portrait is then delivered upon completion.  
     Most of my commissions are oil, pastel and charcoal and the majority of my subjects are children, although I also do portraits of men and women, as well as pets, homes, boats, etc. 
Q.  What is the cost of a portrait?
A.  Go to "Price List" for details.
Q.  What is the difference between oil, pastel and charcoal?
A.  Oil is done with pigments suspended in linseed oil and applied with brushes on a primed canvas.  Pastel contains the same pigments as in oil paint, except that it comes in the form of a stick which is made of chalk, gum tragacanth and water.  Charcoal is black and contains no color and like pastel is applied to various surfaces of paper.
Q.  How long does it take to complete a commission?
A.  There is usually a waiting list of several weeks.  Once the commission is started, an oil painting will take at least twice as long as a pastel painting and a charcoal drawing may take half as long as a pastel.  Oil takes longer because of the drying time.  The actual time from start to finish varies according to the client's circumstances.  I can meet specific deadlines with reasonable notice of several months to several weeks.
Q.  Do I need to sit for a portrait or can it be done from a photograph?
A.  Sitting for a portrait is always a good idea, however, it is very impractical for most people.  If you have good photographs, I can work from references that you provide.  I would rather work from my own sketches and photographs because I know what I am looking for when I take the pictures.  I also cannot work from the work of professional photographers.  I prefer to compose my own work of art rather than copying another artist's work or composition.  It is considered unethical to do so.
Q.  Where are you located and is there parking?
A.  If we meet in person initially my studio is located in Bristol, RI.  There is plenty of parking space.  We can accomplish a commission via email or snail mail, though.
Q.  What are your hours?
A.   I will schedule meetings by appointment only.  Email me for an appointment.
Q.  Do you charge for a consultation?
A.  Initial inquiries are free. 
Q.  Are there any former clients I can contact about your services?
A.  There are many former clients, however, upon request, I will seek their permission before giving out their contact information.