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  Mutual trust and understanding between the artist and the patron has been the basis of my success in portrait painting. That is why I attempt to make my goals and intentions clear on the outset. Serious collectors have recognized and appreciated my artistic commitment. When someone makes an inquiry about commissioning a portrait, I provide a brochure that includes; samples, biography, and a current pricelist. Then I schedule an appointment to meet and finalize our agreement. I try to be candid when discussing my process with the client. I listen to their ideas, but if it becomes apparent that the client wants too much control, I simply refuse the commission. As Cecilia Beaux, an American portrait painter once said, “It doesn’t pay to paint everybody.”
When convinced of the client’s enthusiasm and confidence,
I ask them to read and sign a one page contract that provides a brief description of the proposed painting, outlines a payment schedule and clearly sets forth my commitment to maintain artistic control over the aesthetic decisions of the completed painting. In the early days I did not have a contract and relied on verbal agreements. The contract now clarifies issues before they become problems. The contract also serves as a record of names, dates, addresses and other pertinent information for my files. Once I accept a commission, many hours are devoted to planning the painting’s concept. As soon as I meet the subject, I watch for characteristic gestures and facial expressions. I note which of the subject’s gestures are the most interesting to me. If possible, I visit the home or workplace to glean ideas for attire, props, lighting and overall composition.  
  Working from life is very exciting as it pulls the subject into the process. Even when I’m working with photographs, I often ask for at least one sitting from life. With the exception of posthumous portraits, I take my own photographs. The sketching and photography sessions take three to four hours with plenty of breaks and lots of conversation. Depending on the complexity of the painting I need at least four sittings when working from life and one photo session when working from photographs. It takes many years of study and practice to develop the drawing skills and the understanding of light and color to paint convincing portraits. These skills are often most evident in artists’ studies. With that in mind, I try to bring the spirit of a study to even my most complicated compositions by leaving some areas of the painting sketchy…allowing the toned canvas to shine through, while developing other areas with brush work that is rich and painterly.  
  I am so concerned with every aspect of my work, that I always present the completed portrait framed and ready to hang. My husband, Fred, and I collaborate on an original frame design for every painting. With years of experience, he designs, mills and produces museum quality frames, specializing in silver and gold leaf finishes. Since framing is not usually included in the commission fee, clients are not required to purchase our frames. So far, everyone has kept them, when given the opportunity.  
“Mr. and Mrs. George Draper”
oil on linen 40” x 54”

The first time I met with Mr. and Mrs. Draper to discuss their portrait painting, they toured me through their grand old Victorian home filled with antiques, rugs and artwork. The enormous rooms were dim and atmospheric. I thought it would be exciting to include the interior of the home in their portrait. During my next visit I arranged selected objects and furniture in a beautifully lit corner of their parlor, the setup remained intact while I planned the painting.

The Drapers were patient sitters, from the first small charcoal and watercolor studies to the finished painting. They are among the most gracious and hospitable people I have ever met. I knew it was important to capture their grace and sense of tradition with the portrait. I eventually took some photographs and began the large canvas in my studio. By using my studies in combination with the photo details, I resolved the final composition.
  Oil on Linen · Pastel · Watercolor
Approximate Sizes:
20" x 24" 30" x 40"
24" x 30" 40" x 50"
Head & Shoulders $18,000.00
3/4 (includes hands) $20,000.00
Full Figure $25,000.00

Each additional figure add 50%
Prices do not
include framing or
travel expenses

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