Commission a Portrait

Oil on Panel
14 x 14″

Portrait paintings are timeless heirlooms, a traditional way to memorialize and celebrate the people we love. Capturing a person’s likeness in oils is one of my favourite types of artwork. I prefer to work from life whenever possible, to capture the expressions, personality and energy of the sitter. I like to play with light and pose, chat to the person and get to know them a little. I can also work from photographs, and I especially like old photographs. I can zero in on a figure in a group if needed, simplify the background, and make minor adjustments to pose.

Oil on Canvas
30 x 30″

This is my grandmother, Pat. The black and white photo I used was taken in the 1950s. I never met her, but I see my mum, sister, brothers and myself in her eyes and smile. Her presence in our lives never fades. This piece is a loose oil sketch in raw umber, which explores composition, proportions, expression and of course, likeness. I do these sketches “alla prima,” which means “in one session.” If I’m happy with it, I may allow it to dry and use it as the pentimento, or underpainting. Sometimes I feel satisfied enough to stop at this point. Often I want to take it further and explore colour, and bring the piece to a high finish.

Oil on Linen
20 x 16″

The Process

Contact me via email or direct message (via the bubble, bottom right of this page) to discuss what you’d like. My preference is to work at my studio, but I can be flexible depending on my schedule. I work in oils on Belgian linen, charcoal and pastel on archival paper. I may need 2 – 3 sittings, which may take 2-4 hours (with breaks) each time, depending on the complexity of the piece. The first sketches will be charcoal or pencil on paper, as I get to know the sitter. I will also take photographs. These studies will help us to visualize the final piece, and you will get the opportunity to modify the pose and composition at this point. After the sketches have been approved, I will proceed towards the final painting. Paintings like “Lightbearer” can take several months to complete, as I use a classical technique. Building layers of transparent glazes takes time and patience, but the results are worth it. Luminosity and the otherworldly quality of paintings like this cannot be rushed.

Impressionist style paintings like “Lottie” (top of this page) still require the same foundational sketches, but the final piece is created alla prima. This means significantly less time is needed to complete a piece.

Prices range from $2500 – $10,000 for a commissioned portrait, and include all preparatory work. Also included is a tamper-proof seal attached to the back of the painting created by LuxVerity containing a secure microchip. LuxVerity’s technology generates a digital certificate of authenticity for your portrait and a custom Digital Docent experience telling the story of your piece. Simply hover your smartphone over my signature, and exclusive content will be revealed. You can even record your own short video as part of the Digital Docent experience – imagine your family discovering that in years to come!