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Procedure

First, the artist discusses with the client such things as location, selection of wardrobe, poses, and background, when applicable. He makes every attempt to address as many details as possible prior to the photographic sitting. This sitting takes about two hours of a morning or afternoon and can take place either at the artist's studio or at a location of the client's choice. Professional lighting is used for indoor portraits, so weather will not be factor. During the session, the artist will be taking notes and making observations regarding details necessary to incorporate into the painting. The artist then returns to the studio and reviews all pertinent information, studies all photos, and selects those that are most conducive to a successful portrait painting. A small oil study is done next, suggesting the character of the portrait, the palette, composition, proportions, and size relative to the actual finished portrait. This allows the client to collaborate on the direction the portrait will take.  The artist will also produce a pencil or charcoal sketch just under life size; its purpose is for the client to critique the portrait in this drawing stage. After these studies have been reviewed and discussed, the artist will then paint the portrait in his studio. Both the oil study and drawing will be given to the client after completion of the portrait. Upon completion of the actual portrait, photos will be sent either via email or mail for viewing and acceptance by the client. At some point in the painting process, at the discretion of the client, the artist will select frame corners, which will be sent to the client for selection, and the frame will be ordered and made. This process usually takes between six and eight weeks. If the client would like to use his or her own framer, this too is acceptable. In either event, the finished portrait will not be delivered until it is framed. Note that the price for portraits does not include framing, shipping and crating, or out-of-town travel and living expenses.

Procedure for Posthumous Portraits

Although most portraits commissioned are from subjects who are available for sittings and photograph references, there is another type of portrait that is every bit as significant for capturing an individual and serves as an important way of remembrance - the posthumous portrait. William T. Chambers has completed many posthumous portraits and treats them with the very same attention that he applies to living subjects. Because of his experience working from the live model, his anatomical knowledge and draftsmanship, the finished portrait has the same sense of life that he achieves working from living subjects.

As with a living subject, the initial step is to be introduced to the subject and acquire a feeling of comfort and knowledge about the subject. The more information about the subject, and the more reference photos that are made available, the better.

 These photos give invaluable information about the subject's anatomy, even if they are very unlike the eventual photo used as a reference for the portrait. Often, the a posthumous portrait is based on a head and shoulder photograph, but with a good knowledge of the person, coupled with reference photographs, a three-quarter portrait can be done. Occasionally, using a model with the same body structure and hand characteristics, a three-quarter pose can be constructed that can be as convincing as one painted from a living subject.

It is not necessary that the family come up with a photograph that captures the subject completely. If a specific background is desired for the portrait, a good reference is again every important. After all the information and reference material is assembled and given to the artist, a small oil study is completed and a head study drawn for critique. Upon approval, the final portrait is begun.