Working from a model from life is a traditional part of an artist’s training and practice. I try to make time to visit local open life drawing sessions every so often. I do most of my portrait commissions from photos for the sake of convenience, but there is something unique about the process of painting a subject from life, and it keeps an artist’s observational skills sharp.
Here are two portraits I painted yesterday, at the Howard County Center for the Arts and at Zoll Studio- each one took around an hour and a half (with breaks for the model).
I am happy to offer commissioned portraits from life to my local clients, at my studio or in your home.
Why choose a live sitting over a photo? Neither option is “better,” each is unique. Using a photo reference allows the artist to capture a fleeting expression, or the memory of a special time or place. The artist can spend a long time creating a carefully controlled finished piece. For a live sitting, the subject must pose for an extended period of time, so the expression and pose is usually relaxed/neutral. The artist must be efficient, capturing the most important aspects of the person’s likeness and spirit in a shorter amount of time. This can lend the finished piece a sense of immediacy and intensity. Sitting directly for the artist can be a special experience for both the subject and artist, connecting them to a longstanding artistic tradition dating back to the work of the old masters.
If you choose to sit for a live portrait, you will need to be able to hold a relaxed, comfortable seated pose for 20 minutes at a time. You should plan for about 2 hrs 30 minutes total time together, including breaks between sittings. You may bring an adult companion to keep you company, but please do not bring unsupervised young children, as you will need your undivided attention to pose. Children as models must be old enough to sit relatively still and calm. Live portrait sittings of pets are generally not recommended. Please note that a friendly dog does live at my home studio- if you have allergies or fears, we can meet in your home.
Pricing is similar to my standard options, but only available in certain sizes. Please inquire for pricing, process, and size options for painting multiple subjects together.
12” x 16” watercolor- $300 – one subject
10” x 14” graphite- $150- one subject