Jamie MacDonald is a graduate of Queen?s University, B.A. (Hons.) and B.Ed. He paints landscapes and illustrations, but prefers portraiture over anything else. His goal through portraiture is to reveal the unique story of each person, and to tell that story as best he can. John Singer Sargent, Gustav Klimt, Tom Thompson, N.C. Wyeth, Frank Frazetta, and Johannes Vermeer can be counted among his influences. He has been a participant in a number of group and solo shows in Ontario, and is also a member of the SCA. Jamie finds time to paint while acting as a fencing coach, pursuing guitar and piloting, practicing the craft of writing, and working full-time as a teacher of art and history.
I work either from life, or from photographs. I sometimes combine both approaches. In either case, I work strictly from my own photographs of a subject, and it is important for me to meet with and know a client. Otherwise, a portrait lacks the special likeness that makes it unique.
Though my preference is to paint from life, photos allow an artist - and subject - to work within time constraints. Once the image has been drawn, or copied to the canvas, I begin painting basic colours, laying out the composition in rough. I then add additional layers over time, using the time-honoured method of “thin to thick”: saving the heaviest, oil-rich layers until the end, thereby extending the life of the painting. I use the highest quality pigments to ensure longevity. I most enjoy using bright, vibrant colours, and rich browns and earth-tones. I also use mediums to give the paint a deep, layered look. This also adds a pleasing sheen to the finished product. Six to twelve months after its completion, I add damar varnish to preserve and protect the piece.
The time required to paint a full portrait is considerable, ranging from twenty to forty hours. Prices are dependent on size:
Small (any dimensions under and up to 20” x 20”): $1400.000
Medium (any dimensions under and up to 36” x 36”): $2800.00
Large (any dimensions under and up to 40” x 40”): $3300.00
Grand (any dimensions under and up to 48” x 48”): $4400.00
For each additional figure beyond the first: +25%
Here, the price is determined by the larger dimension in the painting. So, for example, a 16 x 20 would be ‘small’, a 16 x 24 would be a ‘medium’, a 24 x 36 would also be ‘medium’, while a 28 x 40 would be a ‘large’. For any sizes with a ratio of less than 3:2 (a 40 x 20 canvas, for example), an enormous size beyond 48”, or something entirely different and unusual, prices are negotiable. All prices are in Canadian dollars.