When The Commission Is A Portrait



I sent the sketches to my clients in order to get their input and a more definite idea of what they were more drawn to. As the A image was discarded because the horse’s owner was more interested in showing the entire horse, we concentrated on developing the B image. The first request was to show the image reversed, with the owner on the left and the horse on the right. I checked my stash of photos and found several that could potentially work. My clients opted for this one as a starting point:


The horse’s position however was not ideal and I had to use some creativity in order to change the legs to a more natural stance.  It took several more sketches and conference calls before everyone felt satisfied with the changes and I could start working on the final painting.

The horse portrait was the first one I worked on. Because of the subject’s larger size I found it easier to replicate the finer details. The most difficult part of the painting however, turned out to be the owner’s face. The overall painting only measures 16”x21” so you can appreciate how small the face was in the painting. It took a steady hand and lots of patience to achieve a likeness I was happy with. I didn’t stop until I felt completely satisfied with the results. I then sent a photo of the completed painting to my clients in order to give them the opportunity of making last minute details changes. When I got the thumbs up from them, I dropped the painting in a custom made frame and shipped it to its destination.  Even when you know that you have created a painting you can be very proud of, waiting for the owners’ reaction and evaluation of the actual painting when they finally have it in front of them, it’s always a nerve-racking time. You can then appreciate how relieved I was when several days later I received an enthusiastic phone call from my clients. Only at that point, I was finally satisfied that I had been able to transpose in the painting not only a likeness of subjects but, more importantly, that essential bond between horse and owner. 


Best Friends – Oil On Panel – 16″ x 21″  




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