When looking to commission an equine artist for a custom horse portrait there are several key questions you should be asking apart from the initially obvious ones of price and style.
What does it take for an equine artist to capture the true likeness of my horse?
One really important key to successful horse portraits is whether or not the artist has captured the true likeness and character of the animal. The artists ability to paint an attractive picture is not the same skill as their ability to accurately observe the finer details and nuances necessary for you to say “That is my horse!”.
No-one knows your horse as well as yourself – their character, habits and quirks that make them the individual you know and love. A quality equine artist will have developed the necessary skills to identify how to portray these in a painting. And it necessarily follows that if you ask an artist to produce a painting from a small photo you took yourself, that maybe has poor lighting and you’ve cropped off his ears, then you’re probably lined up for a disappointing result.
Does the horse artist need to visit my horse personally?
If you want the very best results, then in short, yes, the artist needs to visit. Even if you have taken some excellent photos – large, clear, sharp, this just isn’t as good as the artist being able to see the horse for themselves.
Artist meeting your horse: Face-to-face, the artist can get a MUCH better overall impression of your horse, that will enable them work more knowledgeably with the reference photos, be they the artist’s or your own. Photos are limited in their ability to capture detail; they are subject to the lighting conditions; they are limited to only one angle – in short, it’s like looking at your horse through fuzzy binoculars instead of standing next to them.
Having the artist make a personal visit does of course affect the overall costs, and this may well prove a deciding factor.
If you have to go down the route of supplying your own pictures to the artist, please remember – poor photos usually equals poor painting!
Equally though, if all you have are average photos, a good quality artist will still be able to produce an acceptable portrait from them, it’s just that despite their skills & creativity, they can only paint what they see and imagine the rest.
Personally, I recently produced a painting of a horse that had sadly died. The owner was able to provide me with a small selection of pictures. One had the right angle of head and body, but the colour and shadow was bad and was wearing a bridle which wasn’t wanted in the painting. I needed to use the other photos as reference to ‘fill in’ all the missing information – and the resulting painting was a success. The client was really happy with the result “it is absolutely stunning. thank you so so much!” – take a look in my gallery Fine Horse Portraits by Andy Hunt – http://www.finehorseportraits.co.uk/gallery/horse-portraits-gallery.html