Why commission a portrait in oils?
As a Work of Art
A portrait done in oils makes a statement about ourselves. It says that we appreciate the arts to a degree that we are willing to invest in an original painting that combines lights and darks and rich colors in a powerful visual image that can become the centerpiece of any home.
As Family Heritage
A portrait is a visual reality that records the heritage of one’s time and one’s family.
It not only says that the individual portrayed is an elemental part of the family tradition but captures the uniqueness of that person forever.
As a gift
A portrait is a superb gift to one’s loved ones…It provides an image that will ever stay fresh for those who care for that person, a treasure that can be passed from one generation to the next as an enduring record of a very special person.
As an Honor
A portrait is one of the great traditional ways to honor someone who has contributed in a substantial way to the world in which we live. Be they people who have served in the government or in the private sector, a portrait, hanging in some central location, declares our admiration for their work.
How to commission a portrait:
After coming to the decision to commission a portrait, one should select the artist whose technique and ability best reflect the client’s taste. This should be done by reviewing the work of several artists, both nationally and locally.
Once the artist is chosen, a contract is signed and an advance paid to begin the process. The advance is usually on third of the contracted price. As to how the painting will be done, there are two options available to the client: Onsite and from a photograph.
Option 1: Onsite
To best capture the individual, the onsite portrait is preferable. It allows the artist to meet and study the subject of the painting. Curtis will travel to the home or office of the one to be honored, work with that individual as to attire and setting, make a series of notes and sketches and take approximately forty photographs to carry back with him to his studio. After carefully studying the photographs, he then contacts the clients to suggest several of the best poses and compositions after which the final choice is made..
The portrait is then painted in oils on fine, portrait grade canvas at Curtis Studio and the final work of art is delivered to the clients for any desired modifications if requested) Due to he work load, this option tends to be more costly. A small additional fee may be added to cover travel expenses.
Generally speaking, the price of the painting depends upon the complexity and size of the piece. For onsite portraits, prices will average as follows:
Head and Shoulders (18”x14”): $4,000
Half-length with hands (30”x 24”): $5,500
Three quarter length (40” x 30”): $6,500
Full length (48” x 30” or larger): $8,500 - $10,000
Option 2: Portraits from Photographs
A simpler and less costly alternative is to commission a portrait taken from a family photograph. Curtis requests as many supporting photographs as possible, but there may be one particular pose that the client prefers and that will be the one to commit to canvas.
Alternatively, the client may wish to acquire an oil painting taken from some early family portrait. This can be done, using a good color photograph of the original.
For paintings from Photographs, again the complexity and size of the final work will determine the price of the piece.
Head and shoulders (18” x 14”): $3,000
Half-length with hands ((30” x 24”): $4,500
Three quarter length (40” x 30”): $5,500
Full length: $7,000