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I can paint any picture for you but I'd like to talk about portraits here and the elements needed to produce a quality painting. These features typically apply to any realistic painting and they must be considered before you commission anyone to produce a painting for you.

Light and Shadow 

This is a photo of actor Ian McKellen taken by photographer Dan Winters. Here you can see the dramatic effect that results from a skillful use of light and shadow. This photo is an ideal source for an oil portrait. The light coming from our left hits the subject in a way that emphasizes the unique characteristics of the man's face. The actor's left side is merely a black silhouette that barely stands out against the faint light in the background. Notice how the subject's left eye is capturing more light than the right even though most of the light is striking his right side. The effect of all this shadow is to draw attention to the areas where the light is hitting. Light against shadow creates form and along with color it sets the mood.

Composition

In this photo of a girl taken by Paul Apalkin we again have a perfect reference for an oil portrait. Composition in portraiture is primarily a matter of pose, i.e., the positioning of the subjects face and body in relation to the viewer. The hanging forelock in front of the girl's face is critical to the success of this image. Go ahead and cover the forelock with your finger and you'll see how essential it is. Also notice the strand of hair hanging in front of the girl's ear. This was no accident. Composition is crucial. Color and light can be adjusted, either in photoshop or on the artist's palette, but composition is by and large permanent. 

Color

This photo of a baby taken by Sylwester Syzmanski is a beautiful example of how the elements of color, light, and composition can work together. Here the photographer has chosen a warm color scheme consisting of browns, reds, oranges, and a touch of yellow. One color gradually flows into another because they all share the same slice on the color wheel. Such a color scheme will always work whether you're using the warm autumn colors shown here or the cool blues and greens you'd find in a seaside setting. There are several color schemes that you can always rely on such as the analogous scheme in this image, the complimentary scheme, the split complimentary scheme, etc. This is especially true when the values (lightness/darkness of the colors) are the same. Notice that the leaf in the background contains the slightest hint of green that nicely compliments the dominant red in the image. A painter would be wise to play with the green in this leaf, perhaps making it a bit more vibrant and thus enhancing it's complimentary effect.

Clearly the photographs above are professional quality and such results are not easy for the average person to achieve in their home. I presented them here to illustrate the importance of light, color, and composition when it comes to turning one of your favorite photos into a genuine oil painting that will not only grace your walls but most likely the walls of your grandchildren and even your grandchildren's grandchildren. So before you send me a photograph of your loved one or yourself or whatever it is, please take some time and evaluate the picture. Ask yourself if this is the image you want to immortalize on canvas. 

I want to make owning an oil portrait or other original artwork accessible to anyone with an average income. If you are interested in commissioning a painting from me, please read my Terms and Conditions page. 

Thank you!