Modern portraits – the process

In the age of digital photography and the selfie, modern portraits are gaining in popularity. 

A typical commission begins with discussion of the size of the painting, what will be portrayed, background and mood. This is followed by rough life drawings and a colour rough which is approved by the sitter. Sittings are arranged to suit the sitter; often people choose to have the portrait completed from photographs. 

Sometimes people commission a portrait as a gift. I am able to work entirely from a favourite photograph, to keep the portrait as a surprise!

At the end of the 20th century, photography became the fashionable new form of portraiture. But as technology increasingly makes portrait photography a constant feature of daily life, artists and sitters are finding scope to express individuality in contemporary portraits which capture more than the sitter's physical likeness, revealing more about the subject and creating a distinctive representation. 

A modern portrait is a unique, lasting representation of an individual, a moment in life. 

‘I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.’
– Frida Kahlo