The Art of getting the portrait painting you want

5 Top tips from artist Stewart Beckett to get the best oil painting.

Art Portrait Painting Advice

Buying Art is an emotional process, that speaks to your inner self. This is true of Portraiture also, but with an added twist. A portrait painting says something about the sitter that photography can sometimes lack or miss. In an oil portrait painting the hand of the artist sculpts and moulds the paint to recreate the beauty and character of life. Its aim is not to be a perfect photographic representation but to offer the viewer an insight into the character of the subject. Through colour, texture, energy, and form, the paint breaths life at the hands of the artist to create something of beauty that did not exist before. A work of art that can be cherished and passed down through the family for generations.

To get the most out of this process I have some top tips of things to consider when you want to commission a contemporary Portraiture artist.

My 5 Top Tips

Art Portrait Painting Advice

Tip 1. Collaborate on ideas and vision – Artists take many years to study, practice and hone their skills. However, at no point during this study do they master mind reading. So, it is important to have a good discussion at the out set of what you want for the portrait and to try and take onboard ideas that the artist will have. Ultimately the end result will be the artist interpretation of your vision, but you must allow for artistic license in order to get a work that is fresh, interesting and depicts the subject in the best way possible.

Tip 2. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes – Portrait paintings can take a long time to complete, depending on the number of sitters etc. It is always a good idea to get an update or even better view the painting in progress. This will allow for a conversation that can avoid many hours and delay to the painting if it was not to your liking.

Tip 3. Be realistic on how much time you can spare to sit for the painting – Many Portrait painters can work from photographs. Its never as good as having the person in front of you but allows for progress on a painting when you are not available. From the outset discuss your availability and the location of the sittings. (Normally this will incur some expenses that will be added to the quote for travel and accommodation if the sittings are not at the artists studio)

Tip 4. Time scales – A lot of work goes into creating the finished painting, normally there are some initial head studies, drawings, colour studies etc before the actual final paintings begins. All this takes time so I would recommend allowing 3-6 months for the final piece.

Tip 5. Payment – As a sign of good faith and trust in the artist a 20-30% deposit would be recommended at the outset. Following that another 20 -30 % payment after the first viewing or halfway through the process. With the remainder payable on delivery. It is always a good idea to discuss with the artist framing of the final piece, as they normally have good relations with framers.