Anna Feld, Ken McConney
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Commissioning A Portrait
Most people seldom think about the process by which a portrait is commissioned and painted. It is important for you, as the subject or sitter, to think of the portrait as a reflection of your personality, encompassing your physical likeness, character, gesture and expression.
Being a sitter does not require any special skills or expertise. You will want to relax, be yourself and project your most positive character traits. Ask questions and share your insights about the painting in progress with your portraitist, family and friends.
There are four basic procedures involved in crafting a fine portrait:
1) Painting exclusively from life sessions.
2) Combining limited life sessions with photo reference and correspondence.
3) Exclusively from photo reference.
4) Photo reference with body double as figure model. (This method is appropriate in posthumous portraits or where sittings are impossible and photographs limited.)
How long does one sit for a portrait?
The length and exact time of sittings varies. On average, an oil sketch can be completed in 90 minutes; with photographs to supplement and chronicle this procedure, much can be done in this format. Correspondence on the progress of the portrait via Email, maintains your involvement throughout production to completion. Barring photography, the average portrait painted from life sessions requires approximately three to ten days, depending on complexity. Each process provides you with an active role in the portrait's production, allowing you and others to monitor the portrait through all the phases to completion.
What can you, as the sitter and subject of the portrait, do to make the process of life sittings more enjoyable?
Engage in conversation with the artist, have friends or family visit after sessions, listen to music or books on tape and take intermittent breaks.
Does the artist travel?
Yes, as your surroundings very often reflect your personality. Sittings can also be scheduled at the artist's studio.
Portraits Into Paintings
© George A. Rada
Portrait Painting is a reasonable and natural consequence of affection.
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