Pet Portrait Pricing Guide

How pricing is determined

Every portrait is unique in its own way.
When I price a portrait, these are the main factors that determine how much your commissioned portrait will cost.

Size

As a general rule, the way I price portraits is by the rendering time required to complete the painting. L

Examples:

11 x 14” oil painting on panel will start at $975 (includes materials)

18 x 20” oil painting on panel will start at $1250 (includes materials)

I use the total square inches of the painting dimensions as a general guide to determine price.

Material Costs*

Regardless of its size, your painting will be created using the finest archival materials, ensuring it will never yellow or crack over a lifetime. I only use light-fast super premium oil pigments, and every painting will be protected befroe leaving my studio to protect it from sunlight, and small scratches.

Material costs can vary, depending on the surface selected. Typically — before I even start painting — my materials cost between $60-100. Your price may vary slightly from the examples above, depending on factors such as whether the portrait is painted on panel (less expensive) or stretched linen canvas (slightly more expensive.)

Basic paintings are priced upon on primed 1/8” masonite panel, making it very easy to frame. However, it should be noted that all panel paintings will require a frame of some sort.

Primed Panel Available in various depths and sizes

Primed Panel Available in various depths and sizes

1.5” Profile (Stretched Linen)

1.5” Profile (Stretched Linen)

Depending on your personal aesthetic (and the environment in which you will display the painting) you may opt for a painting done on primed linen canvas, mounted on 1” stretcher bars. This enables the painting to be hung directly on a wall and would not require a frame.

Additionally, you may prefer the more polished look of a “floater” frame on stretched canvas, allowing for the canvas edges to be seen, yet with a deeper profile depth and finished edge of a frame.

Canvases stretched on primed, premium-quality Belgian linen are typically more expensive, increasing material costs over my basic paintings by as much as $100, however, when finished the canvas can be hung directly on the wall and would not require a frame.

Depending on the composition of your subject matter, I will be happy to provide you with recommendations to make the process easy for you.

Complexity of the painting


Most paintings will be pretty straight forward, however it should be noted there are occasional exceptions to this.

One example of a more complicated painting, would be a painting with two dogs. It would require more time to render the expressions of two dogs in a single painting, hence it would require more time.

What Kind of Photo Reference Makes the Best Pet Portrait?

One of the first questions I often get is “what kind of photo should I pick for my painting?”

This is a great question, because the photo selection is key to painting a wonderful painting that will capture the true spirit of your beloved.

Here’s a short list of what to look for in your photos, to guide you in selection process for the reference photo to be used for your painting:

I recently used this as a reference photo for a painting commission. Notice that you can see the glint of her eyes, the form of the body. She has a lovely expression that really shined through in the finished painting (see homepage.)

I recently used this as a reference photo for a painting commission. Notice that you can see the glint of her eyes, the form of the body. She has a lovely expression that really shined through in the finished painting (see homepage.)

  1. Pick a photo that captures the “glint” of light in your pet’s eyes.
    Many snapshots are missing that, and if your photo clearly shows your pet’s eyes, that will help me create a painting that will really capture the animal’s unique expression and personality.

  2. Pick a photo that does not “crop off” a paw, or a tail (especially in a full body portrait)

    If the main focal point of portrait is their face, well then, cropping off the body is just fine.

    However, if we’re working from a photo that is more of a full-body portrait, a photo that crops off just one paw (and not the other) can look a little weird in a painting. Keep in mind that what may work in a photo, doesn’t always translate as well to a painting.

  3. Pick a photo that has “complete” visual information to work from.
    Sometimes our snapshots of pets are missing information, and without that information, it’s hard to extrapolate what is there.

    Examples of this would be over or under exposed photos in extreme light (“blown out” or “dark masses” where details are missing.)

    This is especially true if your pet happens to be black, like mine is! (And you will notice that I have painted my fair share of black dogs.)

    Being able to see the form and direction of the light reflecting off black fur will help to define the form of the animal’s body, making for a better painting.

    Bottom line: Photos with optimal lighting will always work the best!

  4. Select a photo that “tells a little story"
    Sometimes dogs have a favorite chair, a toy, or can be captured “in their element” whether it be out in nature, standing on a boat dock, looking out a window, or sitting at your feet. These kinds of photos often will translate into superb painting reference material.

    Remember, your dog is unique in all the world, and so will be your painting!

a great example of a photo perfect for painting

This photo would make an excellent painting!

Let’s look at some of your dog photos and we’ll figure out the best image to work from, together!