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What To Consider When Choosing An Artist For Classical Portrait Painting

- - Sanny Tendilla

By Chloe Gib


Buying a portrait is not something people do very often in their lives. Sometimes these paintings are bought to be passed on to coming generations so it's crucial to choose a brilliant artist to complete the work. There are so many who state they are up for the task of classical portrait painting but so few who are classically trained and capable of performing to high standards.

The abundant technique used today is photorealism. This is different from realism in that photorealism is generally achieved through the mapping out and virtual tracing of a photograph. Realism draws and paints from life.

They don't copy but rather create by carefully choosing the elements that need to be featured which will establish a complete likeness as well as a stunning painting. The two styles are enormously different and the latter can be identified through the high standard of the final image. Those using realism are able to capture an unidentifiable quality in a person which makes them who they are.

Armed with that information, the first question to ask of an artist is whether he works from a photograph or life. There's nothing wrong with requesting samples from his portfolio but it's important to seek images apt for the image one is wanting. In other words, if ones young daughter is the desired subject, one should request examples of portrait paintings of children. It would be simpler to begin the search for artists in ones area and there are likely to be many. A search engine, for example, turned up 2 million results for Texas artists.

It's acceptable to ask for a quick half hour sketch of the subject to assess style and talent. One who can yield a brilliant graphite image will yield a brilliant painting. This is because grey scale sketching is far more challenging than the use of color. Black and white sketches reveal every flaw.

The human form is the hardest thing for an artist to master. Those who've been classically trained will have learned to command it through working with live models. This is a rare gift, as most universities no longer offer the opportunity for this study. It's important to ask for the academic qualification of the artist to assess whether this classical training has been received.

It's not necessary to have an education in art to judge the standards of an artist. People are able to recognize good work whether they think they can or not. Everyone has an intuition they should trust when assessing the quality of classical portrait painting.




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