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  Portraits In Clay

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Private Commissions

Click here if you would like to request a quote for a custom made portrait

Commissioning a portrait can be an exciting experience and usually a person has his or her portrait made only once in a lifetime. If you are thinking about having such a personal piece of art commissioned, here are some things to consider beforehand. It is my goal to produce a lasting work of art that is customized to your satisfaction and to produce a likeness of the individual that captures and enhances their inner and outer beauty. In a way, you can consider a commission as an investment as the value of the piece increases as my career as an artist develops.

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Consider the medium of the finished piece:
One of a kind originals are more valuable than replicas and pieces of a small edition are more valuable than a large one. The original is made in clay (either ceramic, polymer, or plasteline) and if bronze is requested, taken to my foundry where it will be cast.  With portraiture, it is nice to have several casts made as gifts for family members. Bronze is recommended for anything which is to be placed outdoors (such as on a headstone) as clay will eventually crack with temperature extremes. Polymer provides the best detail for one of a kind originals, but this is the least durable medium as a finished work.

Consider the size, material, and color of the finished piece:
Where do you intend on displaying the portrait? On a table, bookshelf, or cubby? Make sure that you measure the space if there are any restrictions. Though you may order any size between 30-200% life-size, I would recommend 75% to 100%. Over life-size tends to make people look Herculean, which is fine, if that's the effect you're after. You may have the portrait made as a head only, head and chest, or entire body. 

Consider if you would like to have a favorite piece of jewelry, clothing item, doll, etc., included in the piece as a characteristic of the individual.  I also make custom doll head portraits and you can order your own mini-me portrait doll head of your child or grandchild (1/3 scale). Color choices for fired clay are almost limitless. You can have just the natural color of the clay with a clear coating of wax or glaze, fired with any commercial glaze, or coated with a variety of  metal coatings to which a hot or cold patina of any color can be applied. Metal coatings for clay include bronze, brass, copper, iron, pewter, silver, and mauve.

Cold cast pieces can be created with the nearly identical look and feel of a variety of different materials such as bronze, brass, silver, pewter, copper, mauve, stone, porcelain, wood, marble, gold, or glass and are extremely durable. (Not recommended for one of a kind pieces.)

Cast granite is another option now available. The material is 90% granite mixed with a small amount of hard resin that acts as a binder. It is the same material that high end countertops are made of and is lovely cast in sculpture. Here is just a sampling of the color choices available.

Hot cast bronze is traditional bronze (molten metal) and is virtually indestructible. Hot cast can be ordered in any size, including monumental.

Click here to view a sampling of color choices for lost wax cast bronze orders

Click here to view a sampling color choices for hot patina on ceramic sculpture

My husband is the woodworker and makes all of my  bases out of solid hardwood. I have a variety of exotic woods to choose from as well as a  beautiful selection of marble tile that can be inlaid in the wood if desired. Rotating bases are available as well.

Available wood choices:
All images are unstained. Please allow for color and pattern variations.  


Red Oak



Purple Heart



Black Limba


Black Walnut




Curly Maple








Time considerations:
If you are in the Phoenix (or surrounding) area, it is preferable that I meet with you for an initial consultation and photo session. This should take approximately one or two hours. I would then request one or two live sittings to render a pleasing likeness. If you (or the subject) are not available, you may submit quality photos (see below). You can either mail them or send digital photos through email. The more detailed and the more different angles, the better.  Once I begin on your project, the total time involved in creating a portrait is approximately 8 to 10 weeks for ceramic clay, and plan on at least 3 additional months for bronze. 

Note: There is currently a waiting list to begin any new commissions.

Having the client available for live sittings is always the preferred method for creating a portrait, however, I realize this is not always practical or possible. If you are submitting photos (rather than have me take them), the best results can be achieved if the following guidelines are kept in mind:
  • Take the photos against a solid background (preferably white).

  • Use a tripod to eliminate jiggles and blurry images. Some digital cameras have notoriously slow captures and it's easy to get fuzzy photos if something is not holding the camera perfectly still.

  • Try to stand back about 15 or 20 feet and use the camera's zoom capabilities to come in close. This eliminates proportional distortion that occurs at close range.

  • High resolution digital photos are preferred over 35 mm (I can blow them up bigger and print them off). I have a high speed connection and can accept the incoming images as no more than 5MB attachments per email. Another option is to place the images on a CD and mail them to me. These days, 35mm camera photos can be developed on a picture CD which would work as well.

  • If possible, take a series photos in 1/8 incremental turns all around the head, one angled down on, and one angled up at the subject - 10 photos minimum. The more the better and additional sets at different eye levels are extremely helpful. 100 shots is not too many if you have the patience to take them.

  • Please - NO TEETH. There is something genuinely creepy about a sculpture that has the mouth open or teeth showing. Just a pleasant, relaxed expression is best.

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