A realist portrait. How I deal with a commissioned portrait

Because I have so little free time, I haven’t wrote since now about this commissioned double realist portrait of two sisters that I got in August last year.

It’s an oil on canvas painting. The commissioner provided me a few pictures of the painting characters and had some requests about how he would like the portraits be done.
This commission of a realist oil painting is a perfect example of my usually commissions I get for portraits.
All the commissioned portraits I’ve got are from “oversees” customers, so that it was impossible to paint those portraits from life but from photographs.

I think you already understood there is a problem here and you wonder why is that so… In the end, painting after a photo is apparently easier than depicting a portrait directly from life.
Of course, there is a problem! Simply, most of my commissioners want me to paint a painting composition using some photos as reference for something looking different:

  • a different place of the portrait subject
  • a different expression of the face
  • placing together people from different pictures
  • a different age …and the list can continue

Yet, the lesser good thing is that 99 % of the reference pictures are amateurish photographs took in a bad light and the worst, using flash light.
Now sincerely, I don’t blame anyone for that! Who is to know that sometime in the future will  commission a portrait after the pictures that they just took at a party or in a trip?! We want to capture the joy of the happy moment that we are part of , not to capture as best as I can the facial features :~) on those moments, won’t we?
This is the main reference photo for this portrait commission and then, the commissioned portrait painting.
reference-photo-realist-oil-painting-portraitRealist oil painting portrait of two women

Why I am telling these above in a blog post presenting this commissioned realist portrait? Well, because most of the above issues are present to this commission:

  1. subjects are on their youth (so no chance to ask for some custom pictures)
  2. commissioner wanted a different expression on the left subject
  3. commissioner want me to paint slimmer the right painting subject
  4. subjects are placed closer and keeping otherwise those glasses of champagne
  5. had to draw different champagne glasses
  6. a completely new background

It’s a big canvas. Size is 24×30 inches, oil on canvas.

Here is a YouTube video of the painting process.

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What do you think?

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