Portrait Procedure

I prefer to work from life.  However, when using photo references is necessary (in the instances when children can’t sit for long periods, or portraits made as a surprise), I ‘reconstruct’ portraits from photos using my experience and technical skills.

The process usually includes the following. The first meeting with the client usually takes an hour or two.  At this initial meeting we discuss the concept, medium, size etc. If necessary, I may take a few photographic references which will be used in the creation of the portrait.

As a part of the process, I may invite the client to sit for preliminary life drawing studies. The preliminary sketches help me to familiarize myself with the person, their character and personality, and also works as a good demonstration for the client on my technical skills to draw from life and independence from the camera. I later provide these as ‘bonus’ sketches for the client at no extra charge, consider them a part of the commission. A preliminary life drawing sketch may take 30 min to 1 hr.

Once the best compositional setting and other details (medium, lighting, setting, wardrobe, pose , background, dominant colours in the picture etc.) are discussed and decided, I start working on the actual portrait painting using top quality materials (canvas or pastel paper, oil paints or pastels).



The fees are available at request to elenatchurilova@hotmail.com.
The total amount depends on the size of the painting.

A 30% non-refundable deposit is required to show the client’s commitment for the outcome and cover my time, labour and materials. The balance is due on the delivery of the painting.

Prices DO NOT INCLUDE framing.
It usually takes between two weeks to two months to complete a portrait depending on the portrait's size and complexity, and also whether the client can wait extra time until the picture (if it is oil) is fully dry to get it varnished, or they can arrange it later themselves.


Nowadays, when so many artists simply copy photos which does not involve in-depth understanding of a drawing, creativity or imagination, the most obvious way to check their skills is to see whether they can stand the challenge of painting from life, if photos are not readily available.

Photography is widely used to produce commissioned portraits and in most cases not just for reference purpose but as subject of copying.
There is nothing illegal about copying photos. However, a camera captures only one moment in life, and captures everything around. The artist captures details selectively. In portrait, all details, tonal variations and colours work should emphasize the individuality of the person. Not every artist, of course, is able to do this as this is subject to their skills and knowledge but camera definitely can’t do that.  

I am always proud to demonstrate my skills of drawing from life freehand!