Portraits: Why Are They More Special Than A Photograph?

commissioning a portrait

If a picture paints a thousand words, what does a portrait do?

It says so much more than a photograph. It says how much you care. It demonstrates love and affection in a way that a snapshot never can.

Whether you want a picture of a beloved pet. Your aging grandfather. The wooden sailing boat that you have spent hundreds of hours restoring. The retiring accounts director or the company’s new headquarters. Visiting an art consultancy is the first step to producing a beautiful keepsake that you, your family or your firm will treasure for eternity.

How do you commission art?

So you have a subject that you would like immortalised in paint, rather than printed off in the photo booth at Tesco and stuffed into a cheap frame.

A visual arts charity, the Federation of British Artists, was launched in 1961. It and now consists of eight of the UK’s leading art societies. Exhibitions are held at the Mall Galleries in London and cover all genres including portrait, marine, and wildlife using oil, watercolour, and pastel.

The fine art consultancy can match you and your subject with one of its more than 600 artists. They can work from photographs or from real life sittings. Be aware, though, that persuading a boat or a building to stay still for an hour or so may not be a problem. But, your dog may be reluctant to hold a pose!

What, even a building?

Some of us may worry that an artist would turn his nose up at painting an eight-storey office block. But quite the opposite. Although he or she may be a bit sniffy if the request was a literal one.

Commissioning art for business is a major part of the industry. The new headquarters viewed from the motorway at dusk on a summer’s day may not sound sexy to some, but for the directors of the company, it’s a sight that brings tears to the eyes.

What about something to go inside the building?

There is nothing quite like a couple of paintings to liven up a meeting room or to break the ice before a meeting with awkward clients in the sales manager’s office.

An office art consultancy can hook you up with one of its many artists to produce a delightful picture of the first widget that your firm ever produced all those years ago, a much loved managing director, or your first premises. Or even the tea lady who spread joy and gossip around the office for 30 years. What a leaving present that would make. So much more thoughtful than an Argos voucher, I’m sure you’d agree.

Memories are made of paint

Memories immortalised in paint are created with skill and affection over many hours. A excellent artist such as Patrick Gibbs or Karl Martens can capture the soul of the subject in a work that will certainly outlive him or her.  Patrick’s work mainly consists of stunning portraits, figures and landscape paintings, and he’s well known for his emotive paintings that are also carefully observed. Karl is an American-born Swedish artist who is passionate about birds and nature. Interestingly, he paints from memory using Watercolour paintings and charcoal, and endeavours to capture the emotional essence of whatever he is painting, rather than working towards painting an accurate depiction of the subject.


Can we really say that a photograph, however skilfully taken, can do the same? Tell us what you think.


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