Portrait Procedure

With a goal to achieve a glorious and intimate portrait, Mr. Chambers plunges his heart and soul into his portraits. “We’re not dealing with barns here, but a life and soul,” Tim says, “My aim is to know my subject, for therein lies the spice to take an ordinary portrait to one that truly celebrates the person.” Familiarity of the subject through personal interaction moves Tim’s creations from being a mere likeness to one that elicits the ‘Oohs and ahhs!’ and wonderment from those who view it. It’s an invigorating process! So, what’s in store for you once you embark on the portrait adventure? Let’s talk a peek at Tim’s procedure:

  1. Acquaintance:  The process begins with a phone call between you and Tim. This discussion clarifies your expectations, purpose for the portrait, attire, location, and any other questions you may have prior in preparation for a sitting. The time and location of the sitting is scheduled, and travel arrangements made. For posthumous portraits, plans are made to collect all photographic references of the subject, including videos, that will help Tim to become familiar with the subject.
  2. Sitting Prep:  Upon arrival Tim makes acquaintances with the subject (and family for personal portraits). Tim is already beginning to ‘paint’ your portrait, taking a plethora of mental notes as he seeks to know his subject. He surveys the location considering the lighting and background for the portrait, whether it be indoors or outdoors. He prefers to work by natural light if at all possible, but has artificial lighting equipment available if needed. Tim doesn’t require anything of his subject until the sitting location is prepared; he wants his subjects fresh for the sitting. The next step is to decide on the best pose for the subject, considering the subject’s personality as well as any perimeters for the portrait set by the client.
  3. Sitting: When Tim is satisfied with the pose and composition for the portrait, he begins taking his reference photographs for the portrait. The session usually lasts approximately 45 minutes.
  4. Proofing:  Tim reviews the sitting photographs with the client, either on site immediately after the sitting, or via the internet (Tim’s website). By process of elimination, we narrow down the poses and facial expressions to a few ideal compositions while Tim notes your preferences, plus anecdotes of the subject’s physical and personal characteristics. When this step is complete, you will have a good idea of what to expect for the portrait’s pose and composition. Tim makes sure there are no unpleasant surprises in the portrait process, and covers details such as framing, estimated delivery date, etc. before returning to his studio, armed with ample reference material, notes, and inspiration!
  5. Color Study: For outdoor portraits, an additional step is required. Due to the intricacies of color and light outdoors, Tim produces a small painting sketch to record the splendor and nuances of color that photographs are unable to retain (see more about this topic here). This takes approximately two hours, and is one of Tim’s favorite parts of the portrait process.
  6. Painting: Tim creates your portrait in his studio. This takes anywhere from 1-8 months, depending on size, easel schedule, etc.
  7. Final Proofing: Upon completion, Tim sends you digital images of the completed portrait for your review. There’s nothing like the original, but this approach has proven sufficient to provide you an opportunity to request any minor adjustments, which Tim will immediately render in his studio while the painting is still fresh on his easel. Oftentimes revisions are unnecessary. However, Tim’s desire is your satisfaction. You’ll receive updated images of any revisions to approve before delivery of the portrait. After approval, we discuss framing; all portraits must be unveiled framed.
  8. Delivery: Upon approval of the portrait proof, plans are made for delivery of your portrait either in person or via shipment. This can be a private occasion or a reason for celebration with guests. I enjoy the delivery, for even after having previewed the portrait via email, clients consistently say the actual portrait far exceeds their expectations. I am thrilled to be able to present a gift that brings so much heart-felt pleasure. It is indeed a privilege!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Re: Oil Portraits

Tim’s portraits convey the essence of his subjects. Not only is Tim an excellent draftsman, he takes the time to get to know his subjects, as we all know there is much more to a person than what’s on the surface. When viewing one of Tim’s portraits, the more you look at the portrait, the more you feel you know the person.

Dating back hundreds of years, oil is the traditional standard for portraiture. No other medium captures the richness and depth of a well-executed oil painting. Tim uses archival-quality materials
and time-tested methods in his work. Your portrait will last for many generations to enjoy.

“The portrait is gorgeous! I am blown away by it. It is really, really wonderful, and that is such an understatement.” -C. Saunders, Charleston, SC

“I just wanted to tell you how much I love the portrait. I just cried. It is definitely the best money we ever spent. To be able to capture that innocence forever makes letting Cayla and Joshua grow up a little less painful. I spent all weekend carrying a copy around in my purse and I could not stop peeking at it. I was just so moved by the energy and essence of the painting. It is like time stopped for one spring morning in May when our children were four years old. Tim, thank you.” Eileen S., S.C.

Re: Pastel Portraits

Tim Chambers believes a good painting is the culmination of keen observation, a joyful heart, and vibrant, confident execution. This is evident in Tim’s portraits. His pastel portraits combine
the richness of his oils, but have a delicateness and softness inherent of the pastel medium.

Tim approaches his pastel portraits just as he does oil portraits, both in approach and the integrity of the materials used. His pastels are framed similar to oils (no matting, only a traditional frame), the only difference being pastel is protected by an invisible, reflection-free glass (Tru-Vue AR Glass).

Some have asked if pastel is inferior to oil, or if it will last as long as oil. If you consider that oil paint is essentially pastel mixed with a liquid binder (such as linseed oil), you’ll see that pastel is actually a more pure medium than oil! In fact, when handled protected properly, pastels often retain their vibrancy much more than their oil counterparts, as seen in pastels by the French Impressionists. Tim uses only archival-quality, lightfast pastels and substrates for his paintings.

“Tim… thank you so much for Emilie’s and Colin’s portraits. I think they are amazing! You really captured their essence.” –Jenny

“Tim, The portrait looks great! I am thrilled. Someone came this morning to see Lucy’s portrait. She was extremely impressed. She said it was her favorite pastel she’d ever seen! Thanks so much!” -T.G., Raleigh, NC

Re: Charcoal Portraits

Charcoal is the oldest of drawing mediums, with charcoal portraits proudly hanging in museums throughout the world. “Charcoal is as close as you can get to painting without painting,” says Tim. It’s an amazing medium, lending itself to a very intuitive process. It has a wonderful range of values, and unlike pencil, is at home in the hands of a painter.

“I love how charcoal boils down the portrait its essence, similar to black-and-white photography. Nothing gets in the way of capturing my subject. There is a regality to its raw truth. Charcoal demands the artist's command of drawing."

Like his oils and pastels, Tim’s charcoals are archival-quality, and will last indefinitely with proper care.

“Tim, the portrait is INCREDIBLE. Thank you so much!!!! You really captured our parents.” -Bijan, Virginia

“The portraits of our children are STUNNING!!! I mean totally, completely stunning. WOW! We are so excited about these treasures. Thank you, thank you!” -Catherine G.

Re: Landscapes

"Landscape painting is dessert," says Tim. "It’s pure joy. No restraints, no one to please. Simply respond to the beauty of nature with heart and excitement; hold nothing back."

We all know that it’s more complicated than that. Tim tell's his students that “a good painting is a lot of good decisions.” His paintings’ beauty is a result of God-given talent refined by a lifetime of training and experience.

Tim aims for simplicity in his landscapes, to identify the essential elements. “You’re painting a moving moment. Can you see everything? No, but you do see something. What is it? What one thing sings to your soul here and now? Get that in your heart, in your head, and out through your hands onto the canvas.”

“Tim captured a Virginia evening on canvas for me, and I love the painting! The colors seem to glow.” -L. Paist, Purcellville, VA

Re: Still Lifes

Still-life paintings are like little portraits. I can arrange the elements any way I choose to convey a story. Sometimes the story comes first, and sometimes the players (the objects) make the story. I really enjoy the writing with paint.

The Fruit of the Spirit series is a great story. I read in the bible that the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance. I’ve seen artists assign a different literal fruit (apple, banana, grapes, etc.) for each Spiritual fruit. But I wanted to see if I could take one fruit and put it in different settings to convey the meaning from Scripture. It has been a rewarding experience ruminating as I paint.

Winter months are ripe for still-life paintings, a respite from the chilling wind. Winter is also a time of reflection, and stiil-life painting is a wonderful medium to articulate those thoughts.

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“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

by C. S. Lewis

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