It is always a challenge painting portraits from photographs, but sometimes, as in the case of my latest commission, it was the only way. The client wanted a sketch done from the only photo of her ancestors that she possessed. The heads in the photos were smaller than 1 1/2" which is usually as small as I like to go to get a likeness. Even for the Grateful Hearts Program, we like to have the heads in the photos be at least 1 1/2" to 2" tall at minimum.
Sometimes ,even though, the photo is not all that you may want as an artist, you can still achieve a good likeness and create a memory for your client. Hopefully, this is what I have succeeded at with this painting. The client has seen the piece in various stage of development along the way and is pleased with the direction the painting is taking.
I can not express more importantly that when you do commission work, it is vital that you involve your client. Afterall, it is their memory and vision you are ultimately relying on to create your work. Some artists have told me that they do not like commission work-feels it stifles their creativity and their voice. I on the other hand enjoy the collaborative effort to involve someone in the production of art. It is also satisfying to know that you have created something that your client will treasure and a memory that will be seen and shared with others.
So go ahead and try commissions, let loose your creative spirit and help it to live on thru others.