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What to Expect When Sitting for a Portrait Painting

If you close your eyes, I’m sure you can visualize what it’s like to sit for a portrait painting; images from film and television no doubt fill your mind, of characters sitting on stools or chairs, the artist giving them direction to turn their head this way or that. The scene is idyllic with a sense of refinement as the character is well-dressed, seemingly very comfortable as they pose for the artist, who’s adorned in a rag apron, surrounded by various

paints, brushes of all sizes, and a large canvas on which they bring their subject to life. The whole process seems magical.


While a lot of this is true-the process is magical as the artist brings life to canvas-there is much more the subject of a portrait must know before sitting. If you are about to have your portrait painted, keep this list of tips in mind while preparing for your time with the artist.

Plan the outfit you want portrayed in the painting

This may seem obvious, but you’ll really want to think about your outfit. True, this will be a permanent decision once the portrait process has started, but it’s also important to consider the comfort of the outfit. You may be sitting or standing for lengths of time, and you’ll want to take that into consideration when planning an outfit.


Stay hydrated and bring snacks

Each artist has their own way of processing a portrait sitting, and the length of time can vary considerably. This can take a toll on your body, especially if you’ve had problems in the past with back or knee pain. While the artist will make you as comfortable as possible, they will also need you to stay posed for some time. Make sure you’ve had plenty of water before the session and bring light snacks to keep your stomach full but not bloated.


Just relax!

Being yourself is one of the most important parts of a sitting. The artist is trying to capture who you are inside as well as outside, so let your personality shine through! Don’t come into the sitting trying to be someone you’re not because of an idea of what a portrait should look like. A portrait represents YOU, and relaxing into the moment and being yourself helps the portrait come alive.


Get any preconceived notions out of your mind

There’s no way to tell how you’re sitting will go. Everyone’s experience is different! If you go into the session with an open mind and be open to possibilities, you never know what magic might happen. Trust the artist, sit back, and enjoy the time you have together!

Are you considering having your portrait painted? Contact me [link to contact page] today and let’s discuss your ideas and thoughts. I’d love to capture your life on my canvas.

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© 2015, Irene Bailey. All rights reserved.

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