Who, What, When, Where, Why for Commissioning a Portrait Painting; What Type of Art Do I Like?
What Type of Art Do I Like?
As past chairman of the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, I had the pleasure of running several events where portraits were being offered to prominent members of the community. The portrait artists and the subject of the portrait were asked their preferences. The committee of artists and curators running the event thought it was important for the subject to like the painting style of the artist and thought it important for the artist to be excited about the subject.
I was often asked to recommend an artist, or which artist I would choose? There are many talented portrait artists and this was always a difficult question. You can start by looking at an artist's body of work. If you adore almost everything he or she paints chances are his style speaks to you and you will love what he does for you. Is there a particular medium that you love? How does the artist handle that medium? What type of art do you already own? Do you still love it? Do you like paintings with lots of bold color or more subdued color? Do you like smooth paintings with lots of detail or are you a fan of texture and looser paintings? Do you like simple minimalist paintings? Do you like paintings with complicated designs? When you go to the museums which artist do you keep going back to? What style does he paint? Keep in mind that some art is for you alone and could be trendy or decorative. A portrait is different than other types of art. It will probably be passed from one generation to the next and hopefully will also be adored by the future recipients. Portraits are also very different from photographs. You will take hundreds of photos of your family over the years. If some are classic and some are goofy that is great. Most people do not commission many portrait paintings. Be more selective about poses, clothing, style, medium and artist. Finally choose someone who you or your family member can be comfortable with. You or the sitter may be spending a bit of time with the artist. Commissioning a portrait should be an exciting and wonderful experience. Enjoy.
The painting above of the Cantor by Cindy Wagner was created for a CSOPA event