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How to Commission a Portrait Oil Painting by award-winning Australian artist, Marcus Callum

Updated: Jul 29

Why Commission a Portrait Artist?


A photograph tends to capture a static moment as seen through the eyes of the photographer whereas a beautifully painted portrait vibrates with energy, and can capture many different aspects of the sitter conveying a multitude of different emotions. Through the artist's interpretation and psychological insight, you see the sitter through the artist's eyes in a history of paint layers often painted over many weeks or months. A good portrait painting captures its sitter's essence and resonates powerfully with the viewer.


What to Consider When Choosing a Portrait Artist


There are many factors to consider when selecting a portrait artist to commission a portrait painting. Look carefully at the artist's work and make sure it's of consistently high quality. Be wary of cheaper portraits. Portraits take a lot of time to complete and the more skilled an artist the more you can expect to pay.


Steps to Commission a Portrait


Marcus can paint your portrait from a photograph, from life, or a combination of both. Sittings from life take weeks and in some cases months so most people prefer to have portraits painted from photographs. In some instances, a photograph you provide may be suitable but usually, Marcus will organise a photography shoot with you to capture the perfect reference photograph for your portrait commission. During a detailed consultation to discuss commissioning your portrait painting, Marcus will explain his process and learn all about your vision for the portrait.


The first step is to get in touch via email and schedule a call or meeting with Marcus.


Awarded Contemporary Portrait Artist | Marcus Callum | Portrait Commissions | Australia

How Much Does It Cost to Commission a Portrait Painting?


As you can appreciate, an artist’s work is valuable, and a lot of time is taken to prepare and complete a portrait painting. For all portrait commissions, there is a non-refundable 50% deposit required to secure a place on Marcus's schedule. The remaining 50% will need to be paid upon completion of the portrait. Overseas commissions requiring travel and accommodation may incur additional fees.


Below are some examples of the cost to commission a portrait painting, shown in Australian dollars.


The prices indicated are for unframed high-quality oil portraits with simple clothing and plain backgrounds.

Marcus's prices are generally determined by the size and complexity of the painting.


Example Portrait Prices

  • 40cm x 30cm Head only $4000

  • 50cm x 40cm Head only $5000

  • 60cm x 45cm Head and shoulders $8000

  • 80cm x 60cm Half figure $12,000

  • 90cm x 70cm Half figure with hands $14,000

  • 100cm x 80cm Three quarter figure with hands $18,000

  • 120cm x 100cm Three quarter figure with hands $20,000

  • 160cm x 120cm Full figure $25,000


How Long Will It Take?


The time a portrait painting takes will depend on the complexity of the work but usually, you need to allow several months for your portrait painting to be completed.


Considering a Portrait Painting as a Unique Gift?


Marcus’s classical training means he is able to capture an extremely accurate likeness. Once this has been achieved, he makes way for intuitive interpretation and imbues the portrait with an energy of its own.


A three-time Archibald Prize finalist, Marcus won two of Australia's most prestigious portrait prizes, the Shirley Hannan National Portrait Prize and the Black Swan Portrait Prize (now the Lester Prize). In 2014, he was awarded the Dame Joan Sutherland Award and in the following year received a major scholarship to study at the prestigious New York Academy of Art.


As one of the most successful portrait artists in Australia and now worldwide, Marcus is much in demand for oil painting commissions.





Awarded Contemporary Portrait Artist | Marcus Callum | Portrait Commissions | Australia

Commission a unique original contemporary oil portrait painting by multi-award-winning Australian portrait painter and three-time Archibald finalist Marcus Callum. Contemporary portrait commissions as a unique gift, family heirloom or corporate portrait. Contact the studio today for sales and portrait commissions in Australia and worldwide.