“Every man’s work…is always a portrait of himself." Samuel Butler
Guidelines for commissioning a portrait
A portrait is a treasured image that can become a valued remembrance for generations to come. The most viewed painting in the most visited art museum in the world is a portrait. DaVinci's Mona Lisa hanging in the Musee Du Louvre in Paris has captivated visitors for decades and is a testament to the power of the human visage.
Jason is available for commissioned portraits and will work with you to create a memorable painting. The following guidelines should be understood as you plan.
Preparing for a portrait
Successful portraits are a true collaboration between client and artist. Jason’s process typically includes these steps:
1. An initial consultation is arranged to discuss the size, spirit and details of the portrait. Come to the meeting prepared to discuss the mood of the desired portrait, the location, where the portrait will hang when completed, the objectives of the painting, and any other factors that Jason should know in order to successfully complete the project.
2. A photo session will be conducted of the subject at an agreed upon location to explore pose, styling, background and expression. This sitting will take 1 to 2 hours during which the subject should be prepared with several changes of clothing, hair styling and personal preparation ready beforehand, and any distractions removed that will prevent a successful experience. Jason will review the results and choose several images that would be considered the best reference photos from which the final composition can be developed. He and the client will discuss the references and choose one as the basis for the portrait. For posthumous portraits, Jason will select appropriate photo references provided.
3. Jason will then prepare a small preliminary study for review, reflecting the style and composition of the portrait. The client will review the study to approve the painting of the portrait. At this stage, the frame may be chosen.
4. Jason will create the painting in the studio using the finest materials on premium linen canvas, resulting in a portrait that will last for many generations. A final sitting will be arranged so that Jason can complete details in the portrait.
5. Lastly, Jason will finish the portrait in the studio and prepare it for delivery. When that is not possible, he will ship the portrait directly to the client. Shipping fees are not included in the portrait price.
All portraits are priced after the individual requirements for the project are discussed. Fees begin at $8,000.00 for a 16 x 20 inch adult's head-and-shoulders portrait of average complexity, painted approximately life-size. Fees increase proportionally for head and hands, three quarter-figure and full-figure poses and may vary according to the complexity of the background. Discounts are extended for multiple subjects in the same portrait. A quote is prepared and approved before the painting has begun.
Fees do not include framing, applicable sales taxes, or travel and shipping expenses. A non-refundable deposit of 50% is due when the contract is signed. The balance is due upon final approval and acceptance of the portrait. Please contact Jason for further information.
Things to Consider
Mood and purpose for the painting
The ultimate purpose of the painting is the first thing to consider regarding mood. Mood is affected by clothing, setting, facial expression, body position and lighting. After the portrait is completed, the choice of a frame will also contribute to the overall mood.
In addition to considering the personality of the subject, assemble photo references or other portrait examples to bring to the initial consultation to discuss with Jason. If you have a certain outcome for the mood of the painting, it is important to express this and help plan so that your vision can be achieved.
Style of painting
You should become familiar with Jason’s work by reviewing the images on his website (www.jasondrake.com). Jason will not compromise his style in the painting of a portrait but will infuse a unique individuality to the piece. Your portrait will stand alone and offer a view of the subject not attainable from any other artist.
Amount of figure in portrait and overall dimensions
Though these are things to consider in the early stages, the final dimensions are often suggested once Jason has assembled the references needed for the portrait. The initial sketch will also allow him to determine how the overall composition will represent the subject and he will recommend the size of the painting. Or, you may initially decide on a 3/4 figure, then as a result of working with the artist, decide you prefer a full figure.
Sometimes a client already has a frame, such as a family heirloom or antique they've purchased and the portrait must fit this frame. It is important to discuss this arrangement during the initial consultation.
The photography session
Come prepared for a one to two hour photography session at the predetermined location. Jason is responsible for all photography and will provide all necessary equipment. If distinct objects are to be included in the painting such as family heirlooms or recognizable personal possessions, they are the responsibility of the client and must be brought to the photo session. Jason is not responsible for hairstyling or makeup and these preparations should be completed in time for the session to begin. Bring several clothing options that are appropriate to the mood or style of portrait you envisioned. Exploring different positions and compositions is part of the objective for this time and will be accomplished in a collaborative effort. All photos remain the property of the artist and may not be purchased or used for any other purpose.
Framing and hanging
Jason will offer recommendations for framing style. You are not obligated to use any particular framer but he can assist you in having the painting framed upon completion of the work, or you can handle the framing yourself.
Consideration should be taken for where the portrait will hang. Lighting, background wall colors, and adjacent furniture will all contribute to the impression made by the portrait when hung. Discuss these factors during the initial consultation and consider adding additional lighting directed at the painting to enhance its presence in the room.
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