Common Questions & Answers

How long does it take?    I can usually complete a watercolor portrait in four weeks upon receiving the photo.  Additional time may be required based on the medium and waiting list and on the size and complexity.

What is the payment process?    The $50 deposit is sent along with the photo for me to begin with the painting. The remaining balance is due after you have approved the finished portrait. Upon receipt of this final payment, I'll ship the portrait to you. You can pay in a form of a personal check or money order made payable to Michele Garvert.

What kind of photo should be used?  My portraits are based off of photos and are very realistic.  I need a clear and detailed photo in order to obtain the best likeness of the subject.  Larger photos are better, and you're welcome to send several photos so I can get a better impression of the subject being painted.  I prefer to work with clear, casual snapshots taken in natural sunlight because the poses are usually more interesting and appealing for the final portrait.  However, some people prefer formal portraits based on portraits taken in a professional studio or setting, which I'm happy to work with too provided the photographer has given permission.  Keep in mind, that I can personalize your portrait by making some changes from the photo.  For instance, I can change the background and color of a shirt, adjust hair, or add and subtract objects. Also, I can help you choose from your photos on which one will work best.

What is the process?    Upon receiving your photograph(s) and details from you, I will create a quick sketch idea and email it to you to view and discuss.  Before shipping the finished painting, I will also send you a digital photo of the painting to ensure you are satisfied with your commission.  Click here for more about the process.

Can you combine photos?   Elements from two or more photos can be combined into one painting.  However, it may not work if there is a changing of the direction of the face or body in order to incorporate the subjects together.  Various backgrounds can also be created this way.  We could simply discuss the many possibilities.

What will be discussed in commissioning a portrait?   We will discuss the pose, setting, background and other features for your portrait. For example, there are three basic poses for portraits -bust (head and shoulders), three quarters (includes the hands), and full length. Portraits can be painted in various settings and backgrounds. The painting can vignette (fade off into the white of the paper or background color) or it can be painted to the edge like a photograph.  Specific features such as eye and hair color will also be discussed.   This is an important step in the process of creating a portrait that you wish for.

Can you work from black and white photographs?   Yes, black and white photos can be used; however, detailed information will be necessary in order to add color. This is a great way to turn old wedding photos into cherished anniversary gifts, or to capture childhood memories.  Click here for the black and white, sepia, or old fashioned gallery.

How do you gain permission from a professional photographer to use their photos?   The photographer owns the copyright of any photos he/she has taken. I can only work from professional photography when I have written permission from the photographer. You can try and gain written permission from the photographer for me to use their work by contacting them and explaining what your intent is. If they grant you permission, ask for a written copy, and send it to me along with the photo or photos being used.

What is the price for animals, landscapes, automobiles?    I can paint anything from a good photograph. Animals are priced the same as human subjects. Landscape and various still life prices are determined upon request. Click here for Pricing Info.

Are the sizes for a painting with or without the frame?  The image size can be different then the finished frame size because a watercolor painting matted and framed can have around five inches added to the image.  Thus, a watercolor painting displayed in a 16 x 20" matted frame has an image size of approximately 11 x 14".  The first measurement is the vertical length and the second the horizontal. Sometimes there's a third measurement, which is the depth of the canvas for an oil painting.   Since most clients have an idea of what size they want for a finished framed painting, I use these standard frame sizes when discussing the painting with you.  The specific size isn't as important if you are having the painting custom-framed and there are also unframed oil paintings and mounted paintings to be considered.  

What materials do you use?   All of my watercolor portraits are painted in permanent artist's watercolors on high quality, Arches 300 paper.  For drawings, pastels, and oil paintings, the materials will be discussed, and will depend on the size and effect the price, but will always be of high quality.

Can you create a portrait in a medium other than watercolor?   I have created portraits in charcoal, pastels, and oil. If you are interested in commissioning a portrait in one of these other mediums, then the price and completion time may be different, and we would need to discuss this option.

What is the proper care for a watercolor portrait?  Watercolor paintings should be kept in dry environments and preferably framed in glass with an acid-free mat. Direct sunlight should also be avoided to reduce the possibility of fading. I use only the finest quality of watercolor archival materials and techniques to produce portraits with glowing colors that are as permanent as any other medium. With proper care, your watercolor portrait should remain as beautiful as the day it was painted for many generations to come.

  • Feel free to contact me with any additional questions.