I have been making a living doing what I love, making commission portrait paintings officially since 1988 although I became a professional artist about ten years prior. The list is long of clients who own an original commission portrait painting of mine and claim it as one of their most valuable possessions. I’m very precise in the initial drawing stage because the subject of the artwork must be an exact likeness in order to become a family treasure. My goal is to capture a beautiful moment in the life of a child, husband, wife, mother, father, or pet for a lifetime or longer in a work of art. I feel that a painted portrait is huge step above photography because in this awesome rendition of someone who is loved you have both worlds; a stunning likeness of that loved one and an original one-of-a-kind piece of art that can stand on it’s own as original art.
My Career in Commission Portrait Painting
Commission portrait painting as a career is always interesting. Unlike many other jobs which can become mundane after a few years, each new client presents new challenges and fresh subject matter. Each new commission furthers the learning process and sharpens my skills as an artist. It is definitely worth the effort to stay the course. I will never stop working to improve my abilities as an artist.
As I continue to grow artistically, my goal is to bring a more painterly style into my portraiture. In my efforts to achieve a likeness, I have developed a tendency towards super realism which I am steering away from lately. Attempting super realism can at it’s worst lead to a sort of “over-modeling”. Over-modeling naturally will often take place in the early stages of a portrait when the artist is focusing on placement of the features. It is when the shadows and highlights are a bit too exaggerated resulting in a portrait that seems unnatural or cartoon like. If the artist is aiming for photo realism often the result is over-modeling instead of the striking look of true photo realism. It is best for the realistic portraitist to aim towards
achieving a selective focus. Meaning to soften edges that recede and sharpen the edges that help develop the illusion of depth. To allow the viewer to use visual imagination to finish the areas that aren’t in focus, is to bring a certain visual excitement into the artwork.
It is the same sort of excitement as when one is able to identify “real” shapes in the clouds. I love the look when I see it, but my work still has a lot of “finish” in it that I am working to eliminate in order to achieve that visual excitement. Make sure to keep checking back at this website because I am hoping that my newer works will reflect the changes I am talking about here.
I also intend to set some goals for myself to generate a greater body of work in order to try my hand at a gallery show for which I don’t have to borrow back my artwork from clients to fill the walls.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment in the comment section below. You can also contact me via the contact page if you are interested in commissioning a portrait.