A portrait in oils has a greater impact and permanence about it than its pastel counterpart. Oils have a luminosity brought about by many layers of colour. The materials are richer, the colours more intense and the work involved tends to produce a painting of deeper authenticity.
I occasionally use canvas but my favourite surface to paint on is board; for smaller portraits, anyway. This gives me the flexibility to choose exactly what size the paintings should be. For larger portraits, where board becomes too heavy, I will use canvas; usually fine portrait linen.
Well, the beauty of painting in oils is that there are no size restrictions other than the logistics of getting it into your house and on your wall. So you have total flexibility for size. Generally, I paint children’s portraits slightly under life-size.
An oil portrait does not need to be glazed so it only needs a moulding (frame). The lack of glass adds to the impact and presence of the painting. Choosing the right frame is absolutely vital as the frame can either show the painting off to its best or can kill it dead. I offer a framing service, using a superb local framer who I have used for 20 years.
The materials involved in an oil portrait are much more expensive and the work and time involved far greater. A head and shoulders for a child is £3250. And a 3/4 length starts from £4250 depending on the size and amount of detail and props involved. The 3/4 length portrait is is the most popular choice for clients who choose oils as a medium, as this option results in a painting where the pose tells as much about the child as the face – a true portrait.
Having a child painted in oils is a more expensive option than in pastels, but if you are looking for more of a painting than a sketch, and something with longevity to last through the generations, then a portrait in oils is the way to go.