Commissioning a portrait is easy and fun- it’s a treat for you, or a very special gift.

How we plan your portrait:

If you are interested in having a portrait painted, email me and we’ll set up your initial consultation. We’ll meet in a location convenient for you and talk.

I’m available both in the Bay Area and in Los Angeles; arrangements can also be made for San Diego and Santa Cruz.

We’ll discuss the idea of the portrait: will it be formal or casual, standing or sitting, size and color, what you’d like to wear, and whether you want to be painted at your home or my home studio. If you don’t yet know what you want, we can figure it out together.
I’ll bring my portfolio, and books of classic and modern portraiture. You can bring your favorite photos of yourself, and perhaps some thoughts about who you are- ten words that describe you, ten things you really like, your resume, an essay about yourself, or a post-it with “I don’t what to say about myself!” written on it.

Once we’ve agreed on a plan, I’ll write up a simple Commission Agreement for us both to sign, and we can begin!

The entire process takes just 2 to 4 weeks. Your time on the calendar is reserved when we sign the Commission Agreement and I receive your deposit.

 

How your portrait is painted:

The painting will take two to three sittings. The first one is usually three to four hours, although much of that time is spent choosing clothes and accessories, arranging the pose and getting comfortable. The second and sometimes third sittings will be shorter, two to three hours.

I was a courtroom artist, so I’m used to working while people do other things. You can listen to the radio, or watch videos, or you can bring a friend to talk to. If you pose with someone else, you can talk to each other while you’re posing. Some people like to relax and enjoy the peaceful feeling of being still; others like to chat with me as we work. You can ask me questions and get up and look at the painting any time. We’ll have regular breaks to stand up and stretch, eat or drink.

 

Pricing:

The dimensions of each painting are determined by the composition of the portrait, but in general I like to work at least 20” x 30”, and there is no additional charge for sizes up to 36” x 48”.

  • Individual Portraits are $1,000.00 for a full-figure picture.
  • Double Portraits are $1,400 for full-figure.

A deposit of 50% of the total is required before the portrait is started. The remainder is due when you receive the completed painting. I will accept a check for the initial deposit but I require PayPal, money order, cashier’s check or cash for the final payment. Berkeley sales tax of 8.75% is applied to the total purchase price.

 

Other Information:

  • Portraits are generally painted 30-70% of life-size.
  • I paint in acrylics so your portrait is varnished and available for you to take home just three days after it is finished.
  • Charges for highly detailed backgrounds or additional objects are negotiable.
  • All prices are subject to change.
  • If you request, you may pick up your portrait with the edges painted for frameless display and wired for hanging; framing and shipping are the responsibility of the client.

top of page

 

The Four-Hour Portrait

Some of my clients want a less traditional portrait- looser, more expressionistic, more modern. Or they would like a picture to give as a gift- within a weeks’ time!

If that sounds attractive to you, we should discuss a “four hour portrait”- a quick portrait done alla prima in a single sitting. We talk on the phone to set these up, probably emailing some ideas or photos of you back and forth, then meet for the painting with clothes and background already chosen. Payment for the painting is made on arrival; you pose for three to four hours. And that’s it!

All four-hour portraits are $450.00, executed in sizes up to 30”x30”.
There is no extra charge for up to two additional subjects.
You can choose full-length, half, or bust.

Single-session portraits are a great value and very fun to participate in- my clients are always amazed by how fast it all happens.

I love these rougher paintings; they are full of energy and mystery. And of course if you decide you would rather have me go on and make the painting more traditional, we simply proceed as with a regular portrait, scheduling another sitting.

I can keep the painting for three days to varnish it, or I can leave it with you and you can have your framer varnish it- these are great for gift-giving!

top of page

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How long does it take?

The painting will take two to three sittings. The first one is usually three to four hours. The second and sometimes third sittings will be shorter, two to three hours.

Do I have to sit perfectly still?

Absolutely not. I was a courtroom artist, so I’m used to working while people do other things. You can listen to the radio, or watch videos, or you can bring a friend to talk to. If you pose with someone else, you can talk to each other practically all the time you’re posing. I’ll be talking to you occasionally as I work, and you can ask me any questions you want and get up and look at the painting any time. We’ll have regular break times to stand up and stretch, eat or drink.

Can you paint my picture from a photograph?

Yes, but I’d really rather not. Photographs are useful tools for a portraitist, but a painting from a photograph is a copy. Spending time with the sitter allows me to get to know you, to see your face from different angles and in different moods. A painting from life moves back and forth through many moments at a certain time in your life; a photograph captures a single instant.

Can I use the painting for my Christmas cards/website/business cards etc.?

You can reproduce the painting for Christmas cards or to email to family members; for commercial use such as a website we’ll need a work-for-hire agreement and a slightly different pricing.

Can you paint my baby?

Yes, but I’d really rather not. At least not a traditional baby picture. If you'd like a picture of your baby riding a giant caterpillar, or your baby as a mermaid or a bat, we can talk. Babies and small children are very challenging subjects, with a different visual language. It’s not my specialty. There are portraitists who specialize in children who can do a wonderful traditional picture of your baby.

How about my older child?

Definitely. Kids over eight or nine can be part of the portraiture process, interacting and establishing their character the way adults do.

Can I bring my baby?

It’s best if you don’t bring your children unless they’re posing- this is a time for you.

Can you make me younger/thinner/more beautiful?

The standard for portraiture is “five&five”- five years younger, five pounds thinner. I’m happy to do that if you like. Everyone I paint is fascinating and beautiful to me; if you have features you want emphasized, let me know.

Can you paint me nude?

Sure, but clothes are wonderful for storytelling. You’ll have a more vivid portrait of a specific time in your life if you’re wearing something meaningful to you.

Can you paint me and my partner performing a sex act?

Sure, if it’s consensual! (All blood play, breath control play, and fluid exchange must be simulated!) You will have to sign a pretty detailed release of liability though.

Can you paint me/us at our favorite dungeon/fantasy room/commercial sex club/ drag bar/SF convention?

Definitely, if it’s near the Bay Area or LA, and you secure permission from the owner of the space. I’m very comfortable working in public spaces and having an audience doesn’t distract me- you can pose at ComicCon, on the street during Pride, or at Costume Con if you want!

Does it hurt?

Sometimes, yes. It depends entirely on the pose. Sitting or standing in one position for a long period can be uncomfortable. If you have any kind of chronic pain or a back problem, we should choose a comfortable pose and take frequent breaks. Some people are fine with holding a pose that hurts like hell after the first five minutes; other want to feel relaxed the whole time.

top of page