To begin with, a meeting is scheduled at a convenient location, most often in the clients home, to discuss and determine the type of pose, background, clothing, lighting, and to consider including items of sentimental significance or a beloved pet. Where distance or inconvenience is concerned, existing photographs can be sent via email or regular mail. I can work from these existing photographs if the all the necessary elements are in place. In all other instances, a photography session is then scheduled. Professional photography is not necessary. The primary objective of source photographs is proper posing, desired lighting and capturing the personality of the subject on film which is an invaluable aspect to the portrayal of the whole person.
Usually, between 100 and 300 photographs are taken. On rare occasions a second photography session may be necessary especially with small children who may not easily accept being photographed. Fortunately, in these instances, connecting with children comes easily for me. I can usually achieve the objective in one session. Older children, teens, and adults exhibit the same tendencies in regard to relaxation and falling into a natural pose. After a brief period of time getting to know one another, this tendency usually subsides and the pose is captured.
In the example of Stella Grace below, I worked both inside and outside with her. I allowed her to take the lead and she chose to sit on the porch where she and I began a simple conversation which led to her falling into a comfortable position and to my capturing her natural facial expression while also paying close attention to suitable posing, desired lighting, and appropriate background. In the example of "Gungredeen Forest" also below, the pose is soft and relaxed. The subject, after a certain amount of time, is finally completely at ease and settled into a natural pose and natural expression where the photo shoot then began. Her mood and personality are well portrayed as well as likeness. This is the primary goal of high quality portraiture.
A cd of the session is produced and submitted for review. Upon selection of the final proof, the painting process begins. When needed a personal sitting may be arranged for final portrait details.
In the example above, the source material was taken from two different photographs of the subject.
I paint in the style known as Verdaccio. Verdaccio is an Italian name for mixtures of white, yellow and black pigment which when mixed result in grays, yellows, and greenish browns which dominate the undertone. Verdaccio defines values which create a monochromatic underpainting used in portraiture of the renaissance period. The Flemish painters traditionally applied this technique over a "bone" colored priming to bring out the values and clarify the warm tones of the primer. This technique creates a glow which does not alter the tonal quality of the final painting as illustrated in the example below of Gungredeen Forest.
( Verdaccio Technique)
My inspiration is taken from Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyke, and Caravaggio.
My portraiture is defined as classic narrative. I strive for likeness and expression and a genuine portrayal of personality. I use the finest oils, many of which are hand made and I paint solely on Belgian Linen which has been double primed. We custom stretch each canvas based on the size of the composition.
Things to consider when planning to commission a portrait
Where will your portrait hang? Do you prefer a horizontal or vertical format for your portrait? Formal or informal posing, background, or dress? Indoor or outdoor? Cool or warm lighting? Are there any special items you may wish to include such as a toy, glasses, a special necklace, tie, bow, book, doll, pet, flowers?
A high quality oil portrait is a priceless treasure. It becomes an heirloom for generations to enjoy. It marks a time in a person's life whether age 2 or 92 and creates a lasting memory of someone very dear.