Where Can I Find A Portrait Artist?
How about close to home? Consider beginning your search locally. A portrait is a very personal piece of art. Great portraits often happen when the artist and the sitter collaborate, get to know one another or have some kind of relationship. The Andrew Wyeth portraits of Helga are a great example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Helga_Pictures Even if they are not your style, you can feel the emotion in those portraits. An artist uses a sitting to create helpful reference sketches and photographs for the final portrait. Personality, expression, habits, or something unique to the subject is revealed during a live sitting. This can make the difference between a good portrait and one that truly sings. If you choose an artist closer to home sittings will be easier to arrange and less costly. Most artists will charge extra for travel time and travel expense.
To find a local artist start by searching on line. Be sure to enter your City, County or State. Be specific with your search words. A search for portrait artists may list photographers as well as painters. Try adding portrait painting in the search. Do you know what medium you want? If you do, add oil painting portrait, pastel portrait or drawing to your search. A local portrait group, organization or society may appear on your search. Viewing this website can be a good place to start. If you find an artist on your own or through a local arts group, the artist will not be obligated to pay a commission fee and this may mean your costs will be less. Visit a local fine art gallery where realistic figure paintings are on display. Chances are some of the artist might also paint portraits. Finally see if there is a juried portrait art show close to home. In general juried shows prescreen the entries for quality of portraits. Some shows attract primarily local artists and other shows attract artists from further away. This is a great opportunity to view the work of many talented portrait artists in one place. The more portraits you view in person, the better educated you become about what type of portrait you might want and who should paint it.
When you locate an artist you are interested in, if possible ask to view some portraits in person. The texture and color of paintings might look very different than they appear on a computer or photograph. I also recommend you view portraits similar to what you know you want. If you are looking for a portrait of a child, or an outdoor portrait, ask to see a similar portrait done by the artist.
You can choose to use a portrait broker to help you with the process. There are several in the USA that have been in business for a while. Many successful artists have a working relationship with a portrait broker that is beneficial to both. The Broker will show the work, handle the details, advertise and finally find the commissions. This gives the artist more time to do what they do best, create the art. Usually the broker takes a significant percentage of the sale price for his efforts. The portrait brokers prescreen their artists for quality. A directory of portrait brokers is found on this link .http://www.portraitartist.com/resources/agents.htm.
There are National Directories or listings for portrait artist. An artist can apply to with digital images. If accepted, they are asked to pay yearly fee to get listed. www.americanartcollector.com/pdf/PADir_2012.pdf
Checking out the award winners of yearly national and international portrait competitions on the competition website is another option. Some national painting organizations are know for quality realistic painting and can be a valuable resource. http://www.artrenewal.org/
There are fabulous artists that participate in all of the above and there are probably many more that do not bother with organizations, competitions juried shows, or portrait brokers. If you find an artist who’s work you love he/she is probably the best portrait artist for you.
More Useful Links
Portrait Society of America www.portraitsociety.org
Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists www.csopa.org
Portrait and Figure Painters Society of SW Florida www.portraitandfigure.org
Maryland Society of Portrait Painters www.mdspp.com
Enduring Portraits www.enduringportraits.com
Royal Society of Portrait Painters www.therp.co.uk
Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition portraitcompetition.si.edu
Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists Faces Of Winter Portrait Exhibit at UCONN Gallery in Stamford CT