How do you find portrait painters?
First of all, there is no right or wrong way to find a portrait painter who is right for you. Here are some ideas:
- If you like the portrait a friend has - ask who painted it.
- Check with your local private and public art galleries for advice.
- If you are looking to commission a portrait of a leader in the public service, business or other vocation, you may wish to talk to the curator of the collection at a local university or government collection – they may have some recommendations and might enjoy showing you the paintings in their galleries.
- When word of mouth has pointed you in an artist’s direction, go to the Internet and look at a lot of their work. Going straight to the Internet can be confusing – there are a lot of artists just a click of your mouse away – and though it can be fun looking, narrowing the field a little first might help.
- Talk to a portrait painting agency, or art consultant. There are several outstanding agencies that represent a wide variety of professional artists to suit every taste and budget.
An agent can help you identify artists that work in the style you enjoy at a price you can afford. They will arrange the commission for you, handle all the financial and contractual elements, and guarantee their artist’s work. You should never have to pay for a picture you don’t like. A professional artist will get it right for you. The artist’s represented by the agencies understand and support this.
Portraits Incorporated, The Portrait Group, Portraits North and Portraits South are four agencies that spring to mind in the USA (I am represented by the first 3). There are others – there are also independent art consultants and galleries who can advise you. Agents know their artists – they know who you will get along with – which matters, as this is a collaborative process. You should have fun.
Fine Art Commissions Ltd. Is one of several such agencies in London, England. Agencies seem to be mainly prevalent in the USA but there will be others in other countries and locations.
- A popular umbrella website for portrait painters is the Stroke of Genius website, featuring hundreds of artists (including me) and their work. You can search it by artist’s name or location (many of the artists represented by the agencies are showcased here).
Don’t be concerned with where an artist lives – all professional portrait painters travel to fulfill commissions – it’s part of the job.