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Creating a work of art takes much longer than developing or downloading a photograph—usually three to six months, even a year. The experience can be a pleasant one, beginning with some sketches and photos and ending with the dedication. In between, the subject may spend several relaxed sessions informally engaged in light conversation with the artist while he works.

The portrait painting begins with a get-acquainted meeting. Subjects will show-off their work or home environment and the artist will look for clues and props to tell the portrait subject’s story. Those who have attained a high position that merits a portrait possess unique qualities; the artist looks for the traits and symbols of that success.

The artist will take photos or make sketches that will be used to develop the composition of the finished work. Compositional studies or sketches will be presented before commencing work. Once the desired outcome is determined, the artist and subject will develop the working schedule that may—or may not—include sittings.


Portraits from photos is best when the artist is the photographer, although-as in the case of posthumous portraitsthe portrait painter will ask for many images to give him/her as much information as possible.

Although many portrait subjects welcome sittings as a relaxing relief from business-as-usual, some do not. For that reason, and because most subjects are busy people at the top of their profession, the portrait artist can work from photographs, with occasional visits to check progress. Progress can be monitored via digital images. 

During the sitting, most of the work is done while the subject sits comfortably. The artist observes the subject in a way like no other. Portrait painters treat their subjects much the same way a doctor or lawyer would; what is said during the sitting is confidential, so the subject has the freedom to be him or herself.

When the work is finished, the subject must give final approval. Along the way, if there are any problems with the portrait, Primarily Portraits is available to step in. To achieve the best result, alterations may be made.

John Singer Sargent was an American portrait painter who was the leading portraitist of the Edwardian era of luxury. Sargent defined a portrait as a likeness in which “there is something funny about the mouth.” Artists are prepared for criticism and suggestions the client might make; your satisfaction is our goal.

Portrait can be completed from photos the artist takes.

Alfred D'Angelo, Esq.

Board Chair, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital

ARTIST: Joseph Q. Daily

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