To begin the process of commissioning a portrait, Wesley will have an initial conversation with the client to establish the parameters of the commission. During this talk, discussions of pose, expression, clothing, hairstyle, age, size, edition number and sculpture placement will take place. These decisions will help determine medium, composition, final finish, and cost. After an estimated price is established and agreed upon, the first session date will be coordinated, and archive photograph requirements, as well as any other related reference materials, will be discussed.
Wesley always prefers to work from life. It is easier to reveal the soul by direct interaction with the subject. That being said, many times the portrait is being done posthumously or the subject is not available for sittings. Wesley can also produce a magnificent likeness from photos and/or video archives. Examples of these are intermingled throughout his portfolio, and specifics are available upon request. This commission process describes an available subject. An archive commission is similar with the omission of subject interaction.
The first session Wesley will meet with the subject and client to observe, absorb, interact, and collect all related reference material including archive photos, clothing, jewelry reference, and accessories. During this time he may sketch, photograph, and video the subject. Wesley then returns to the studio and “finds” the composition in the form of a maquette (an informal clay “sketch”).
The second session the maquette will be viewed and discussed for the approval of size and composition. An extensive photo and video session will ensue and any final reference materials will be collected. A price will be set, an approximate delivery date given, and a contract signed. One half of the total cost is due to begin the sculpture.
Wesley then begins the sculpture. The average timetable for a sculpture is roughly 6-8 weeks, which varies depending upon size and several other considerations. During this time additional sittings may be requested based upon the subject’s availability. Nearing completion of the piece, the sculpture will be reviewed by the client for any discussion, critique, or potential changes. Wesley will then returns to the studio to finish the sculpture and integrate any client initiated changes. After completion, the sculpture is again reviewed by the client for final approval, which in turn begins the molding process.
Then the date of final delivery is determined by medium choice and foundry requirements, which can be anywhere from 2-12 weeks. Extensive photos are taken of the sculpture and the mold is made. From that, the final piece is cast in the medium of the clients choosing, the discussed patina is applied, and the final finish completed. A presentation of the finished portrait is made to the client. Here the remaining balance is due and the commission is complete. The mold stays on file at the studio should the client desire to have subsequent casts produced at a future date. Any additional casts are substantially more affordable, as they do not include the sculpture and mold fees.