Commissioning a portrait by Shannon Reynolds

The best portraits succeed two ways: as good likenesses, and as works of art in their own right. I try to paint portraits that live up to both goals. I enjoy the interaction with my sitters and the collaborative nature of portraiture.

I am happy to meet clients in my studio or travel to another location. In the first meeting, of between two to four hours depending on our stamina, we will discuss size and possible compositions for the portrait. I will make some studies in charcoal or pencil and take some reference photos. Occasionally, the sketches and photos from this initial session are enough to see me through the whole portrait, especially if it is to be a small head-only painting, but usually a second or third session is necessary. If time allows, I would be happy to paint the entire portrait from life over several sessions.

I typically paint close to life-size which means the smallest size for a head-only portrait would be about 10” x 12”. Prices for oil on canvas, or oil on wood panel begin at $500 for simple head-only portraits and range upwards as size and complextiy increases. A second figure would add add an additional 75% to the cost. Drawn portraits, in charcoal or graphite on paper, begin at $300. These prices include materials and photographic costs. Travel expenses and any other incidental costs, such as packing and shipping, are extra.

I encourage all portrait sitters to be active participants in the process—to consider what they want from the finished piece, and what type of pose will best suit their personalities. If the painting is based on my sketches and photos, I will offer a few thumbnail compositions for the sitter to choose from. Then I'll work on the painting in my studio. The largest paintings could take several months to complete. Smaller paintings and drawings could be completed over two or three live sittings or painted in studio from sketches and photographs over two to four weeks.