In the history of art, portraiture has been recognized as the most challenging genre in visual arts. More common portraits are done in two dimensions, but for those looking to venture into that third dimension, the art of portrait sculpture can be dramatic and elicit a strong emotion from the viewer. While a painting is viewed from one angle, a sculptural composition has unlimited viewpoints which makes it more intimate and immediate.
I love doing portraits. In a way each sculpture I do is a portrait. But there’s always a little anxiety when I accept to do a commission, mostly because I want to capture not only their likeness but also their personalities. They take much longer to complete than my usual polymer sculptures because I need to step away more often, and for longer periods so I can review them with fresh eyes. I usually ask for 4 to 6 weeks to complete a commission. I love to meet my subjects and get to know their personalities in order to transfer their essence into the sculpture. I work easily from either existing photos or from ones that I take myself. But if it’s not possible to meet the person, I can work from photos alone.
It’s also a great way to celebrate a retirement or event like a milestone birthday or anniversary. Some people consider commissioning a portrait sculpture of their departed parents or grandparents. The piece below was commission by a man for his wife as a way to honour his late father-in-law, a well known restauranteur. The sculpture was done using only reference photos. The unveiling was a beautiful moment and the piece will become a cherished family heirloom that will provide pleasurable memories, comfort, and continuity to the family for generations to come.
Commissioning a portrait is a generous, priceless, and meaningful gift, which will become more and more appreciated and treasured as time goes by.
One of my biggest satisfactions is a portrait I did for my Mom’s 65th birthday. As you can see, her reaction was priceless.