What’s the best way to order?
If you live within range of me (I cover parts of mid Wales, the West Midlands and East Midlands), you can book me to come and visit you or meet you and your animals in a convenient location. I can show you samples of work and frames, get to know my subject, and take photos. My paintings always come out better if I’ve been able to take my own photos because I’ve been involved right from the start, and I know what I’m looking for when I take the pictures. I will then email you the best photos from which you choose your favourite. I take a 50% deposit of the total fee at the time of my visit. The balance is payable when I’ve finished the painting.
How much does the photography service cost?
For Detailed Pastel portraits, I consider it essential to take my own pictures, so it’s included in the quoted price. If you’re commissioning me to do a Sketch Portrait, photography is an add-on option which costs £90 plus travel.
Any tips on preparing my animal for the photo session?
Give them a good brush before I arrive, and please make sure they have a dry coat. If you can have an assistant handy it will help enormously. I take all my pictures using daylight, so if you can think of a good place outdoors where they will be alert but comfortable, that’s useful. It doesn’t have to be anywhere picturesque. Please bear in mind the session will have to be rescheduled if the weather is bad – it’s worth waiting for good light.
Can you give me any tips on taking my own photos?
Yes, lots! I’ve written a separate page on this topic, click here to read it
Why aren’t my photos good enough for a pastel?
Very often, what makes a great photo isn’t the same as what makes a great reference for a painting. After years of using my own photography, I know how to record exactly the right visual information about my sitter to create the best possible realistic artwork. I also make important notes about colour and markings which could potentially register differently on a photo. But more important than that, I find it makes a huge difference if I have the chance to meet and interact with them – although it may only be for a short time I take a lot of that away with me and put it all into my work.
I’d like a portrait of my dog who passed away last year. Sadly the photos I have of him aren’t very clear. Can you use them?
I can always do something, even if it’s a miniature sketch. The best thing is if you can let me see the photos you have (several if possible), and I can advise you of the best option(s).
A professional photographer took a really good shot of my horse at a show. Can you use it for a portrait?
Yes, but first you must obtain permission from the photographer: not to do so would be a breach of copyright. I’ll require a copy for my own records, so it must be in writing. In my experience they rarely object, but be prepared to pay a small fee.
How long does it take you to do a portrait?
They vary a lot – I can finish the small sketches in a day but most commissions take around 3-8 full days’ work. The prices are a good guide to this, as I have worked them out according to how many hours I expect to spend on a particular type of painting. I only work on one painting at a time, and I like to knuckle down and get totally absorbed in it for long periods.
How long will I have to wait for my commission?
Most portraits are completed within twelve weeks, but please check with me first if you need one at short notice, particularly towards Christmas. You will be advised of the expected delivery date with your order confirmation.
How will my portrait be delivered?
If you live locally to me, I will probably bring it directly to you myself, or you may collect it from the studio. For customers further afield, we can arrange to meet or I’ll use an insured courier service.
What are the frames like?
I use top quality wooden mouldings, and all styles are fitted with bevel cut window mounts and glass (or perspex glazing if I’m posting). I choose styles and colours to enhance the portrait, and each frame is made specifically for each painting. If you have any particular preferences, please consult me before I start work on your commission. Many people leave it to me to choose a frame that suits the portrait, but it can be helpful if I know what the environment is like where the picture will be hung, so I can ensure it fits in with your style and colour scheme. There’s increasing availability of FSC approved wood moulding for framing so please let me know if you’d prefer it.
Why are your portraits sometimes odd sizes?
I prefer to be flexible enough to compose each picture to its best advantage. This sometimes means I will adapt a size quoted as 12×8″ to 11×9″, or maybe to a longer format for a multiple portrait, so it could be 14×6″.
Can I have a larger portrait than your price list shows?
By all means – the price list is merely based on the most popular sizes, and I could easily give you a quote for a larger portrait, likewise for in-between sizes. I’m only limited by the size of the paper I can get to paint upon!
Do you still own the copyright of a portrait I have commissioned?
Yes, copyright ownership is very important to artists, just as it is to authors and musicians. It means that no-one except myself may publish or reproduce any work I have done in any way, unless they have my specific written permission. If you’d like to publish or reproduce my artwork, please contact me first to arrange a licence.