Oil Portrait Pricing and Process
2015 price range for oil on canvas/linen portraits. Includes photography session and most frame choices. Complex props, pets, or expensive framing will move the price toward the upper range. Otherwise, expect a price quote near the lower end. After completion of the original portrait, giclee prints on canvas can be done at a much lower cost for additional family members or others. These giclees typically run $60-120 each before framing, depending on size. They look very much like the original painting and can be framed in the same way.
Vignettes, less finished other than the face:
12x9 inch canvas $500-700
Head and shoulders:
24x18 or 24x20 $1600-2400
30x24 (adult only) $2400-3600
One-half or three-quarter length:
24x18 or 24x20 (young child only) $1800-2600
40x30 $3400-5000 (adult/teen only)
48x36 and up $4500-7000 and up
Note: Looser, more expressionistic portraits, in either oils or acrylics, are less time intensive and mahy be substantially lower in price at a given size.
After first discussing the commission and agreeing to a size, price, and design approach, we would set up a photo session of the subject. This session allows me to get to know the subject and get a feel for subtle aspects of their appearance and personality as well as get plenty of photos with the detail and lighting I need. In cases where this is not possible, I would look at available photographs and decide whether they are suitable as working references. The quality of photo reference is critical to painting a high quality portrait. After the session, I would choose several photos that could work well for me as a main reference and have you decide which you like the best. I would then be ready to begin as my schedule permits. A portrait from beginning to end can take as little as one month if there is no schedule backlog, but that will not always be possible. The alkyd oils I use are faster drying than traditional oils, but just as high quality, and this helps speed up the process. When I feel that I've finished the portrait to my satisfaction, I would have you either view it in person or through emailed high-resolution images to make sure you are satisfied before final varnishing and framing.
I normally expect payment of 20% upon agreement on the details of the commission, another 20% after the photo session and followup decisions, and the final 60% plus sales tax upon completion of the portrait.