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Commissioning a portrait of yourself or someone else begins with a contact: Patricia Olson. I will in turn contact you for a free consultation, to discuss what you have in mind, your budget and timeline. This discussion can happen by email, on the phone or in person, if possible.

To move ahead with a portrait, a one-third non-refundable down payment is required. Different sizes and schedules determine the cost of the portrait. Once the down payment is received, a photography sitting is scheduled. This may be at the artist’s studio, your home or business, or another place. I will bring lighting, and may take between 10 and 30 photos; it generally takes no more than 15 – 30 minutes, not including set-up time. (In the event I need to travel more than 50 miles from my home for these photographs, the client will cover the costs of transportation, lodging, meals, etc.)

Once the photos are in hand, I make a small scale, color sketch of the proposed portrait, depicting the pose and color thoughts. This is shown to you for approval. If you want to continue to the final portrait based on this image, a second non-refundable payment of one-third of the total is required.

Each painting commission is unique, but generally I paint in oils on panels that are cradled on 2-inch frames. I use an updated version of a traditional technique, in which an underpainting is done, in my case in blues, and then final layers are painted over this first layer. The warm skin tones of the top layers are color complements to this cool, blue layer, and this gives depth and makes for a lively surface that delights the eye.

Once the final portrait is complete and dry, it is presented to you for approval and the final, last third payment. The painting is unframed, but the edges are clean and suitable for immediate hanging, although you are welcome to frame it yourself. The client is responsible for the costs of shipping and insurance, if necessary.

Timelines can vary as well, and are dependent on the rather slow drying process of oil paint. A 16-inch square portrait, like those in The Catherine Portrait, generally takes between eight to twelve weeks. For more examples of see portraits.