Commission process

"The creation of a portrait is a special, intimate and interactive process. After all, it is very important that the person portrayed recognises herself in the painting, and that the partner or parents find the beloved character traits and the personality - the 'essence' - of the person portrayed on the canvas as they see it".

With a free and abstracted representation of reality, in which recognisability of the face plays a major role, in combination with many layers of transparent and opaque paint, these portraits become unique paintings.

Casual and open conversation

For commissions in the Netherlands and Belgium:
In advance we have a casual and open conversation in my studio, or at your home, in which we get to know each other better, express the expectations, discuss the possibilities and make a format/price agreement. If you need any advice regarding format, and/or colour or proportions, it is nice to have the appointment at your home. This way I get a good idea of the atmosphere in the house/family and the place(s) where the painting should be hung. 

During our appointment I will take some pictures to get to know the characteristics of the face better and to be able to study them. Of course we will discuss this in advance.

All agreements we make will be confirmed by email. This way we both know if the expectations and agreements are clear for both of us. I find this very important, because it always leads to complete satisfaction for the both of us.

For my foreign commissioners:
If a face-to-face appointment is not possible, this consultation can also be done by phone and/or email. I have many years of experience with foreign clients on all(most) every continent, and this preliminary process also takes place via these media. I will give you clear examples and ask you what kind of photos and information I need to be able to come to a beautiful end result.

Photo's or a studio session

While painting, I work from photographs. This is very pleasant for both adults and children, because long workshop sessions are not necessary. The photos I get, in consultation, either from you, I make myself, or have them commissioned by a photographer. It is very important that a person feels at ease, while taking pictures. This is necessary to achieve a relaxed facial expression on the canvas, the basis must be right. In the end we make the choice (you make the choice, I advise) of the final photo on which the portrait will be based. 

Pictures taken at home, can be just as good, taken by a loved one in the natural surroundings or in a relaxed holiday mood. Just sent over the pictures you love and we will discuss if they will work as a good basis.

I offer a discount of $200 if you would like or prefer to have a professional photoshoot. Let me know which photographer will take the pictures and I will instruct him/her to what kind of photo’s I need and which will give the best result.

To work...

Some people like to look over the artist’s shoulders, others like to leave it entirely up to the artist’s own insight and creative skills… Anyway, there are a couple of essential moments when we have a little consultation in between.

The pictures I will send you by email let you take a look at the sketch phase and different stages during the painting process. I think it’s important to set up specific milestones where I can show you the progress; this gives you the certainty that the work is done and it gives me the chance to get your feedback.

Specific milestones

Important milestones are the ‘Sketch phase’ – is the composition agreeable?-, and an intermediate phase with colours. At these moments, let me know as early as possible if something doesn’t work for you. Keep in mind that the different phases also have different revision requirements. You can make suggestions for possible revisions during the sketch phase (pay attention to the composition: the placement of the face on the canvas, and the degree of cropping: the size of the face in view of the canvas). Once I start with the actual painting, the composition cannot be changed. Therefore: for this first milestone, we make an appointment as soon as I have received the custom-made canvas. Don’t worry about anything, I will guide you through the whole process!


Revisions and adjustments are a normal part of the process. Please know that (although I am trying;) I am not a mind reader. Try to describe your wishes and representations as clearly as possible before and during painting. I’m very happy to say that so far I haven’t had to make many or major revisions to commissioned paintings.

The final phase

Making a portrait takes time. Different layers of paint are used to create transparency, colour depth and relief. Because of my unique technique where I work with many layers on top of each other, and each layer has to dry, painting takes several weeks. That’s why I always work on multiple portraits (alternately commissioned and non-commissioned) at the same time. This alternation helps me also to keep the distance in between keeps my gaze fresh.

In the last phase, before I finish the painting with a last transparent protective lacquer, I send you the last pictures, or, if you have the opportunity, you come to see the finished painting at my studio. Only after approval I apply these layers of lacquer, because afterwards no more revisions are possible. The layers of lacquer protect the paint and also deepen the colour intensity.

After a drying time of 2 days the work is ready for delivery.

As to costs

Paintings commissioned over €500 will be sent free of charge Worldwide. If you live in the Netherlands (or some parts of Belgium and Germany), I will personally deliver the work to you, or you are welcome to come and collect the painting from me.

The down payment is 50% after approval of the order. The remaining amount will be paid, after approval of the finished artwork, before shipment or before delivery of the painting. You can pay via iDeal, Paypal or a bank transfer. The invoice will be sent to you by email, of which a copy will also be added – in case of shipment – for customs clearance. You can find all of the FAQ’s about shipment on my page Shipping & Delivery.

If you order a painting for delivery to an International Delivery Destination, your order may be subject to import duties and taxes which are applied when the delivery reaches that destination. Please note that I have no control over these charges and I cannot predict their amount.

You will be responsible for payment of any such import duties and taxes. Please contact your local customs office for further information before placing your order. I will include a Declaration of Authenticity with the shipping documents for duty free treatment under heading 9701.

Selection of commissioned portraits

Ik hoor graag van je!

Hesther van Doornum

I’d love to hear from you!

Hesther van Doornum