Commissioning a Portrait

Commissioning a Portrait

    The Consultation
    I think it is very important to have a consultation over the phone or by email at a very minimum. I know many people are busy but I am going to create a work of art that will become a family heirloom it is nice to have the time to assist in choosing color palettes and lighting styles within the painting.

    At the end of the consultation, whether by phone, in person or email we will have reached a decision on what you want in the painting and what style of mine you want it painted in. At this point I will have enough information to understand my color palette, painting size and I will have most of what I need to create a great painting.

    Reference Photography
    Except in posthumous portrait paintings, I try to work only from photographs taken by me. This allows me to capture the types of images that I know will make great paintings. I also have an instinct when it comes to people when I meet them. It allows me to see what people are like. People tend to drop pretenses during a photo session and I am able to start to see who they really are near the end of a session. I am willing to travel anywhere in the United States, provided expenses are paid in advance.

    I can make some exceptions to working from my photography for the following reasons:

  • Posthumous Portrait Painting
  • Gifts
  • Portrait Painting

    24×24 portrait painting with frame and two mats. The painting is on Hahnemuhle 310g Watercolor Paper using inks and paints that will hold color for over 100 years without fading.

    The Beginning of Your Art
    Once I have received the deposit of ½ the painting cost, agreed on during our consultation I will begin with a preliminary sketch study of the painting. These are much smaller than the painting but are necessary for me to develop the actual portrait painting. Once I have a few portrait studies completed, you will receive an email with some preliminary sketches. Once I have full approval, I will begin painting your final work.
    I use the finest papers, museum-grade rated paints and materials to insure your work of art will be heirloom quality.

    The Final Work
    When the painting is finished, I will deliver it personally or through an insured art courier crated for safe transport and delivery. You are responsible for delivery costs. Framing is extra but I would love to be the one to frame your art.
    It takes between 2-8 weeks depending on size, complexity and current commission schedule.

    What I deliver as “finished” is delivered under the following conditions:

  • you agree to “live with it” for 2 weeks before requesting changes.
  • invite relatives and friends to see it.
  • ask for their impressions and comments — and do not influence them with your impressions.
  • listen to them and believe them as they tell you how remarkably accurate the portrait captures the true likeness of the subject. I have never had a portrait returned for rework.
  • Robert Wheater is a professional artist living with his wife, two sons, a dog and a cat in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada mountains. He has won several awards for his paintings and is currently painting portraits by commission. If you would like to talk to Robert about his art or commissions, email him at

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