P.O.Box 778
331 E. Carriere St.
Washington, LA 70589

Tel: 1-337-826-3003
Cell: 1-337-280-9443





Robert Tinney Portraits accepts Visa and MasterCard.



Q: How does Tinney paint his portraits? Will I or my children be required to pose?

A: Tinney paints his images from photos, so it will be necessary to pose only for the camera. Tinney prefers to take these photos himself, although good results can also be obtained from photos you may already have (see details in separate question and answer below).

Q: Are these the type of portraits that are produced by applying oil paints right over a printed photograph, or projecting the photo onto a canvas?

A: No, Tinney's portraits are traditional oil-on-canvas painted with traditional techniques. The figures are hand drawn onto the canvas in pencil using the traditional "grid" technique.

Q: Will I know what the painting will look like before it's actually painted?

A: The artist provides his client with a comprehensive sketch of the proposed painting. During this sketch phase, the client can make comments and suggestions; when the final sketch is approved, Tinney will use this image as his guide for the final painting.

Q: How much will my painting cost?

A: In preliminary discussions with the customer, the artist will give a firm quote for the finished painting. This quote may be less than you might expect: prices start at less than $1000 for a small canvas. Factors which influence the cost of a portrait include canvas size, type of background, the number of figures in the painting, whether the artist will be taking the reference photos, and how far he must travel to take them. Please call, write or e-mail Tinney for more details.

Q: Do you take credit cards?

A: Yes, we take Visa, MasterCard and American Express.

Q: My favorite picture of my daughter (husband, wife, etc.) is a small picture I took myself -- but the expression is just perfect. Can you paint a portrait from this snapshot?

A: See the painting "His Own Shadow," which was painted from a 35mm snapshot taken by the mother as her son followed his shadow during a family outing.

Tinney is generally willing to use good, clear 4" X 5" or larger photographs as reference photos. That said, please keep in mind the following points:

  • The expressiveness and "presence" of your portrait will ultimately be determined by the image from which the artist works. The oft repeated advice from the great masters was to "paint from nature." In Tinney's case the "nature" he paints from will be his reference pictures, and these need to be as good as possible. The artist will be happy to shoot these pictures himself, either at a location of your choice, or at Tinney's studio. (You can save $200 off the price of your 16" X 20" or larger portrait -- and enjoy two complimentary nights at the Tinney's Washington B&B -- if you have the artist shoot your portrait photos himself at his Washington, LA studio.)

  • Photography studio pictures look like, well... photography studio pictures. The figures are usually very posed, the lighting is flat and boring, and the expressions can be "pasted on" and unrevealing. Unless you have no other choice, a studio pose may not necessarily be the one you would want to preserve in oil for generations.

  • In general, flash pictures make poor reference photos. The direct frontal lighting of a flash photo isn't the way you usually see the faces of your loved ones; such a photo lacks the natural play of light and shadow which gives definition and character to a face.

    Q: Can you do a portrait from a graduation picture or a studio photo I've already commissioned?

    A: Yes, but you will need to obtain the permission of the original photographer in order to use a studio photo as reference for a painting. Also, see the comments above about the inherent problems of using studio or flash photos.

    Q: How do I commission a Tinney portrait? What's the first step?

    A: Simply contact Tinney for more information. The artist will want to know the sort of painting you're interested in, of course, and whether you already have visual material of sufficient quality. It may be necessary for the artist himself to survey your photos and make recommendations as to the advisability of procuring additional reference material. Also, you may wish to see actual samples of Tinney's work before making your decision.

    For these reasons it may be necessary for the artist and client to meet face to face. This can be done either at Tinney's studio or the client's location. After the basic questions of size, reference materials and price have been worked out, the artist will begin work. Tinney generally receives a 33% deposit to begin the photography and sketch stages, 33% as the work on the final painting begins, and the final third when the finished painting is delivered.

    Q: How long will it take the artist to complete my painting?

    A: Depending on the artist's schedule, it is customary for a painting to take from 6 to 8 weeks, and it will be delivered to the client with a preliminary coating of "retouch varnish." The final coat of protective varnish cannot be applied until the paint is thoroughly dry, which, to be safe, requires a wait of 6 to 12 months. At this point the artist will retrieve the painting for application of the final varnish; in the meantime, however, the client can frame and enjoy their portrait.

Copyright © 1998 Robert Tinney