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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Question Mark

Can you paint a portrait from a photograph?

Yes! I am experienced in using photographs for portraits. The photo can be a snapshot you already have, one somebody else has taken, or a studio photograph. All I need is a good, clear image of the person or people.

I like using photos of the subject because I can take as much time as I need to develop the painting without submitting the person to the tedious and uncomfortable discipline of sitting still for long periods. In our busy world, not many people can take time for extended sittings on multiple occasions.

Your portrait begins with a favorite snapshot of your head, neck, and shoulders that you feel is a good likeness. It should be a high-resolution photo sized at least 5” x 7”, but preferably 8” x 10”, so the fine detail of your features is easy for me to see and render in paint. You can supply this photo for me to work from, or if possible, I can do a photo shoot if you live nearby my home and studio in Lake County, California.

If you would like to see more about the development and creation of a portrait painting follow this link to a description of my process.

How long does an acrylic on canvas painting or portrait take?

Here is a safe standard estimate of timing, with a few examples. A 16” x 20” figurative painting will take about one month, give or take a week, depending on the complexity of the image. Painting a lot of realistic fine detail, such as an intricate pattern on clothing or a flower garden background, takes more time. A smaller painting sized 11” x 14” will take about three weeks, because there is less surface area to cover with paint.

If the painting commissioned is large, such as Kuan Yin, painted on a 36” x 24” canvas, or Tule Boat on Clearlake, painted on a 48” by 60” canvas, it will probably take up to two months from start to finish. I discuss the expected time frame with each client before, during, and after the painting is created.

I always keep in touch with my clients by email as the painting is progressing. Sometimes changes or additional elements are suggested by the client, which of course extends the length of time it takes to finish an original work of art.

What are the payment options? Are deposits required?

For a painting that is designed by commission, I typically ask for a deposit of ½ the price of the artwork, with the balance due when the painting is finished, and when client receives the artwork. I always send a photo of the artwork for the client to approve before it is shipped.

For an original painting, I prefer the client to pay the full amount when the purchase is made. However, I have occasionally accepted payments made by special agreement. In this case, a simple contract with terms of the sale is signed by both me and the client. The painting is shipped to the client when the balance is paid in full.

What is a Giclee Reproduction?

Giclee (pronounced “gee-clay”) is a French term that refers to the process of spraying a paper or canvas surface with pigments through nozzles with an approximate diameter of one millionth the size of a hair. These nozzles are engineered to vibrate with a crystal, like a quartz watch.

A very sophisticated digital printer uses archival inks to generate the limited edition giclee reproduction, whose quality of brilliant color and fine image resolution is much superior to other means of reproduction. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art paper, and photo-base paper.

The giclee reproduction process offers a much wider color scale and color accuracy than traditional offset printing processes, which simply cannot produce many of the pigments chosen by artists. Whereas offset printing works from a range of four colors, the latest giclee printers use up to twelve colors in brilliant pigments.

My giclee reproductions are all signed, numbered, and published in limited editions of no more than 250. Each giclee is produced on the finest quality archival paper or canvas, professionally treated with ultraviolet protection, and comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing its provenance. Since different sizes can be printed on demand to accommodate a client’s specific needs, individual custom orders are easy to fulfill.

My giclee prints are done by Skylark Images, a fine art printmaking studio located in Sebastopol, California. Skylark Images use professional modern technology printers capable of producing incredibly detailed prints. The quality of work at Skylark Images is invariably excellent!

My giclees are usually made on Cold Press Bright White (Elegance Velvet) paper, a matte, moderately textured, 310 gsm/19 mil, bright white, water-resistant fine art paper. It is a cold press fine art paper that is strong and dimensionally stable, made from 100% cotton fiber and acid and lignin free. The paper is archival certified 100+ years and is manufactured in the USA by Breathing Color. Giclees on canvas are also available by special order.

Numerous examples of giclee prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Chelsea Galleries. Auctions of giclee prints have brought $10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillmans (April 23/24 2004, Photographs, New York, Phillips de Pury & Company.)