• Commissioning a Portrait

    with Sally Stryker Stotts

    Commissioning a portrait is a lovely way to commemorate someone very special to us. Whether it is a child, business leader, spouse or cherished friend, a portrait in oil is a timeless way to capture the essence of the subject for many generations.


    To start the process, we'll discuss the vision for the portrait. Will it be formal or informal? Should it be of the head and shoulders, three-quarters of the figure or full length? Will there be a special place where the painting will hang? All of these will be considered as we arrive at the appropriate size for the artwork.


    The ideal procedure entails an initial sitting with the subject for about 2-3 hours, as I create oil studies and color sketches for reference. The sitting also allows me to live with my subject for a bit and get familiar with their distinctive expressions and gestures as we explore choices for the final pose. During the session, I will take a series of photographs. Afterward, I'll take the images into Photoshop and make various compositions for the client to choose from. On approval of the composition, I will begin the painting. Most paintings take from four months to a year, depending on the size and complexity of the artwork.


    If the subject is unable to do a live sitting, it's possible to work from provided photographs.