Bhavna working on her commissioned artwork
I am almost close to the wrapping up of the photoshoots for the portrait series II, and I thought its a good time to share some of my experiences about the process.
As many of you are aware, I use photo references for my portraits. Its the next best thing to painting people from life.
I put out the call for the sitters requesting them to offer their face to become my muse. I have been fortunate to have people respond and shape my artistic journey. In the past couple of years, I have painted a lot of faces and here are some of the things that visitors often ask me. So, I compiled some of it here.
I get asked this a lot - Why do you paint portraits?
Portraiture is by far the most challenging and well-disciplined art form. There is no contest that this genre can bring two people together with a sense of intimate and emotional connection in a way like no other leading to an appeal for all kinds of audiences.
Its my way of touching lives of more and more people and hopefully, making a difference in it. I hope to have portraits exhibited where more people can see it, but if it gets a relevant audience on sitter's wall, I am perfectly okay with that.
I am very thankful for this gift and I hope to paint as many faces as possible. I hope to learn by practicing more and more.
I so want to support this project but I am not model type.
You leave it to me - I will capture what makes you beautiful.
You said it will be exhibited? When can I buy it?
I try to get the portraits ready well before the exhibition dates. Many times, the dates are not confirmed or not scheduled for weeks to come. In that case, I would rather have the sitter/model have the portrait than having it sit in my studio.
You can buy it any time after its finished. I update about it as soon as possible.
Once the dates of exhibition are announced, I will borrow it from you and return it promptly after the display is over.
How much do the painted portraits cost?
Depends on what you can offer.
It is not a commissioned portrait work (see below), so, I respect sitter's choice in this department. You may think of this as an attempt to bring back the spotlight on affordability of painted portraits. Pay if you like to pay; but remember, you don't have to.
All I ask for is, sharing, if possible. Exhibit it on a wall for your own and other peoples' delight and you have just made me a very happy painter.
When the sitter offers to pay, it gives a tangible appreciation for the artwork. Like a bonus. Not asked, but welcomed. No amount is too small as long as sitter values the time and effort.
I put it out there - whatever you can comfortably offer. I want you to have your portrait. To be able to enjoy, to hang on your wall and be delighted.
When the sitter sees themselves through my eyes, their reaction is raw and honest - absolutely priceless. That awe, surprise, appreciation, curiosity - a mixture of emotions that I receive in return is worth living for. Totally worth creating more art.
I feel, the hours spent in the planning, composing, creating, painting, communicating, and finally getting ready for viewing, were all well-spent! I am quite nervous before final showing but I have gotten better at hiding it!
I have never bought a painted portrait, so I have no clue about what's right.
Can you give me your price list to have an idea?
I recommend you google the going rate for similar work. Look for:
1. Experience and location of artist
2. Price they charge
3. Size/ Medium of work
4. Style of work
Then compare it with what I offer with my almost 2 -years' experience. See what's best for your budget. If it helps in any way, click on my price list for the commissioned artwork.
Or Click or cut/paste the link below in a new browser window:
What is commissioned artwork?
When I am approached to create art, its called commissioned artwork.
In commissioned projects, specifically the portraits, there are requirements by the client. Once the price is negotiated, I basically do what I am told to do. I work within deadline (which is usually not so bad, in fact, I like to work within set deadlines anyway) and get most of the aspects approved even before starting. In general, don't have much of control in terms of creativity.
As the portrait nears the end, the element of surprise is obviously and acceptably missing. The huge motivation towards artmaking boils down to the appreciation - 'Isn't that why we hired you?' and a confirmed paycheck.
So, you see, both have appeal, making for the series that I plan and exhibit versus commissioned project. Both have something I need to keep going. And I hope to keep doing both.
Do you get paid to show your artwork in exhibitions?
No, I don't.
On the contrary, most times, I pay to exhibit my work. I also pay for all aspects of presentation of my paintings, such as framing, labeling, and creating publicity. In group shows I get some support but I take care of most aspects of the display.
No, I mean, it doesn't pay much, does it?
If you are entering into the art scene with hopes of making tons of money, I am sure there are ways but I am not the right person to address that aspect.
I don't paint with an intent to only sell. I do it as a duty, like a purpose. Money that follows, gets spent back on art. I am thrilled my work is self-sustaining and gives me motivation for a productive and a meaningful day.
I also paint and sell other kind of artwork. And it sells okay. So, we are good!
Where do you sell?
I sell via online gallery and ebay. The links are below:
Saatchi Online Gallery: http://www.saatchiart.com/account/artworks/803262
Ebay : http://www.ebay.com/usr/artistcreativitycorner
With time, I would gain experience and might have different plans, views and means to offer more and for now I am open to hear what you have to say.