Some time ago I gave up doing commission portrait art work because it was just too annoying and stressful for me dealing with people's fragile egos in relation to how they appear in a portrait of themselves. On more than one occasion my completed art work just did not measure to up their expectations of what they thought the subject should look like. I did it to make money for some years and it was never as fulfilling or financially rewarding as it was stress inducing and demeaning to me as an artist. So I gave it up in favor of doing portraits of anyone I choose, or simply painting still-lifes or cityscapes that appeal to me. With that in mind, I recently was asked to do a portrait painting of a cousin's wife. He wanted something special for his 52nd or 54th wedding anniversary to give to her. I explained to him that I had sworn off doing portraits and wasn't even sure I could do an adequate job for him, but he insisted I give it a try... so I gave in and said I would try it. I thought it over for a while as to size etc. and then he sent me the photograph I was to use for reference...and specified that it should be 16 x 20 in size to match an existing portrait of himself. Now he promises to pay me for my work so I felt obliged to give him exactly what he asked for and do as good a job as I could.
Mind you, I haven't done an oil portrait from someone else's reference photography in many years. This is a popular portrait art niche that I never embraced; copying a professional photo of a person in a paint medium. People just LOVE those photo portraits they had done and decide they want a nice oil or acrylic painting in a larger size but exactly like that well lit photo done by a professional photographer. The artists that do this make a pretty good income and become quite good at it, churning out 16 x 20 paintings at a modest rate. I personally have other ideas about what I consider art, and it doesn't include copying a photographer's work. It's kinda like asking a family friend who sings, to perform at your wedding but he has to sound like Johnny Cash.
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