When I started this blog three years ago I thought it would be hard to frequently write some interesting words about portrait painting. However it turned out to be fairly easy. In fact I find it great fun, and I hardly run out of themes. In the course of time I have received a lot of nice and sometimes personal responses. Writing a blog, it’s good forming an impression of the readers. Google Analitics shows me where the visits come from. The attached images are from yesterday, 22nd October 2014. Most come from the US.
I greet you all, especially in Texas and California; warm regards.
Demographics Califoria & Texas
With my daughter in the studio.
In my post two weeks ago I talked about portrait painting and the applause of uncles and aunts; the worthless fame. What you really need is a critical eye of someone who understands matters. Someone whose opinion you appreciate. Someone who does not give compliments just to please you. Formerly, before a painting left my studio, my daughter came to approve the product. And when she had critical points, she almost always was right. She is married now and lives in Madrid already for five years. This week she is staying with us. So I can call on her scrutiny. The family portrait, which I have shown you before, is in it´s final stage. Together we have gone over. Beside a few little things I got her approval and for her part the painting can be delivered. Of course I also sent an image to the client. They are very enthusiastic. (aside from some small comments). After these corrections the painting can be varnished and shipped.
Years ago I had the idea to explain my way of portrait painting via video tutorials. In 2012 I started the production and kicked off. I could not imagine what a success it would become. (By the way, writing this blog, on this very moment, the number of subscribers on my Youtube cannel past the 15,000!)
For quite some time two long video instructions How to paint a portrait are on sale now. The only option to purchase the tutorials was via streaming. More than a thousand people purchased in this way the tutorials. And so far, I received a huge amount of enthusiastic responses. But also, the past two years I frequently was asked whether the instructions were available on physical DVD. Finally I decided to offer this possibility too. It took some preparation but since last week the two instructions DVD´s are available now, here on my blog. The production costs are slightly higher than for streaming and therefore the price was increased a little bit, but on the other hand, shipping is free, From Alaska to Australia, from Sweden to South Africa. I am glad being able to satisfy all the people that prefer to own a real DVD. See more information.
Oil on canvas 74 x 61 cm
Every so often people ask me how to start getting portrait commissions. And also someone asks for tips on pricing. Do not expect me to give you a presentation on business plans. I am not an expert, not in the least. I believe that it just comes down to using your common sense.
What do you want?
1. portrait painting as a hobby?
2. portrait painting as a full time professional artist?
It comes down to quality.
If it is just your hobby, mainly family and friends will be your clientele and prices will be relatively low in the beginning. If making a living from painting is your goal, then the question is: is your quality good enough? Is your artwork spiritual and essential? These are questions you need to answer yourself. Because in your immediate environment people always think you are fantastic (the so called applause of uncles and aunts; that fame is worthless). Self-criticism is important. You’ll have to decide where your level is compared with colleagues. The internet is a very useful tool. Look for good painters who do commissioned portraits. Relate their work to yours. Once again be very critical and honest with yourself, I can not emphasise this enough.
Well, assuming you think the quality is high enough to announce yourself in the market, then the next question is about the revenues.
What are my prices?
Try to find out what colleagues charge and adjust your price accordingly. You have to remember here that your geographical location plays a role. Do you live in a big city, in the US for example, or in a remote village in the interior of let´s say India. That makes a huge difference. Some more advice: try to find a good gallery that wants to represent you. Setting your prices that way you can still decide to increase them in the future. It is impossible to lower prices overtime. Clients from the past will feel cheated. If there is a lot of demand you may consider to raise the rates. If you hardly ever get assignments it means that you are too expensive or that your quality is not appreciated.
About composition: Never put your subject right in the centre of the canvas. A composition is rarely successful in this way because here is the dead, boring point of the painting.
Basket with pomegranates. Focal point in the centre of the image.
A better composition?