I often use mixed media when working on a portrait, incorporating any combination of graphite pencils, colored pencils, conte, charcoal, pastels, ink, acrylic or other materials, on 2-ply, acid-free bristol paper. What media I end up using mostly depends on the unique characteristics of the subject, my mood at the time, and of course - your preferences!

I've had a lot of training and experience working from live models, but these days I prefer to work from photographs which are provided by you - or if you live nearby, I will be happy to bring my camera to your place and take some photos. I use the photos for reference material, so that I can get a good likeness of the subject. It is helpful to have more than one photo to work from as I can compare and look for more detail in the subject's features, but it's not necesssary (thankfully) since sometimes the pet is no longer with us and all that can be found is one snapshot.

For a person to actually sit for a portrait in the style I do, it takes many 1-2 hour sessions over a period of days or weeks. I know how tiring it can be to remain in one pose for even 15 minutes - I used to model for the art department at BSU and believe me it's not as easy as it seems! Can you imagine getting an animal to sit still in one pose for that long? Especially when a stranger is present? I don't know about your pets, but mine get too excited to stick around or stay in one place when someone they don't know comes around!

Even though photos are being used, keep in mind that what you are commissioning me to do is a hand drawn portrait, not a straight copy of a photo. I will pick and choose what to use in order to get a good composition and a good likeness. Sometimes I use parts from different photos to create the pose I'm using in the portrait. In this case there is quite a lot of work involved to make it believable. The light source may be different in each of the photos, and I'll need to ensure the composite has consistent shadows. Problems with perspective and proportion need to be solved. If some parts of the body aren't clear or aren't in the photos at all, I'll do a lot of research. It is a different challenge with each portrait and that's what keeps me interested in doing portraits.

To give you an idea of the time-frame from start-to-finish, it can take anywhere from three weeks to several months to complete a fully-rendered detail portrait. The portrait of Ruby & K. C. Rose is a good example of a portrait that took well over 200 hours and nearly eight months to complete. On the other side of the fence is the sketch of Kearney which only took a couple of days. The time-frame and the price are determined by the size of the portrait, how many subjects will be in it, whether or not there will be any background, how much detail will be in it, how much of the body and what sort of pose, what sort of photos are available, if I've met the subject(s), and how many other commitments I've got at the time. That's stuff we talk about before I get started.

These portraits come unframed, so remember to allow for the extra time it will take to have that done. Many frame shops have a waiting period of at least a week during gift-giving holiday seasons.

Once the portrait is complete I can make note cards, bookmarkers, stickers, magnets, or many other 'crafty' things for you, incorporating the portrait and/or the photographs.

If you've been thinking about getting a portrait done of your parents or spouse or children or friend or pet - start digging through your photos and give me a call!

T. Marchek

Moonlight Creations, LLC
P. O. Box 190691
Boise, ID 83719-0691

Phone: (208) 378-0373

Work in progress in the artist's studio
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