Monday, October 11, 2010

Choosing photo's for a Commission

I am currently working on a commission and my client has given me permission to share the process with you all.

Very often a client will commission a painting when either it is difficult to get a decent photo of what they would like or when a memory is very special to them. It is important to remember though that I, the artist, will have not met the people or animals that I am going to paint. So in order to capture that special moment or group shot I need as clear a set of photo's as possible. It is no problem for me to work from multiple photo's. This commission is a good example of this.

My client wants a painting of her son and his fiancee with their new puppy. She was unable though to get a clear photo of the three of them together. So I am working from two photos. One of her son and his fiancee together and a separate one of the puppy. My client did, in fact give me three different photos of her son and fiancee and two photos of the puppy. I then played around with the composition using the various photos to find the most natural group composition of the three of them together.These are the two photos that I chose to use from the selection.

I then created this outline from aspects of both photo's, just shifting odd details to make the piece gel as a whole.

I am now busily painting it. It is being painted on a 16 by 20 sheet of Arches cold press paper. I am working from the photo of the son and fiancee at the moment although I am changing clothes colours to make them less formal looking (you probably wouldn't wear your best clothes with a young puppy around)

They still look older than they really are at the moment (its the white hair that does it especially on Jim as he also has a receeding hairline at the moment because I have had to take the skin tones up further so that the skin shows under the hair at the edges)  I need to finish the clothing before I can paint their hair though.

Thank you Marietta for allowing me to share the process here.



  1. Terrific composition. This is going to be a beauty!!