Caroline & Annika

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“Caroline and Annika”. Oil on canvas. 30″ x 40″. Artist, Suzanne Lago Arthur.

I am happy to share with you my last painting of 2014, a double portrait commission that I have spent most of this past year working on. These two beautiful sisters, separated by 10 years in age, were an absolute pleasure to paint.

[Unfortunately due to being sick right before the commission was due, I did not get it professionally photographed. Please excuse the quality of my cell phone pictures for now.]

Detail of Caroline.


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Detail of Annika.


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Detail of Annika’s hands and dress.



Commissioning a Portrait

“Ben, Anna & Charlie”. Oil on canvas. 27″ x 38″. 2014. Private collection.

There are few things in life as artistically satisfying for me than to have the opportunity to create an heirloom quality portrait for a client. Perhaps it is the exhilaration of observing the client’s emotional reaction to the work that I find so rewarding. But I can’t help but feel that this is the way that I can best share my “gift” with others–by helping people honor and immortalize those they hold so dear.

I can create a pastel drawing or oil painting of your loved one or colleague starting at various price points. Below is an outline of my typical commission process:

  • Personal Consultation: Initial discussion to identify scope of work and client objectives.
  • Subject Observation: Meeting with subject (portrait sitter) to observe & better understand the personality and mannerisms of the individual. If possible, I will sketch and make initial studies from life.
  • Photo-shoot Preparation: Photo-shoot location & date identified along with attire and and other details.
  • Photo-shoot and Review: Photos are taken (for use as painting references), processed and reviewed with the client to identify candidates for the final painted portrait.
  • Painting/Delivery: Typically a year once the painting process begins depending upon the complexity and scope of the work. Note: A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking.

Please contact me directly for my 2017 Commission Prices.


What’s On My Easel


This sweet little girl is part of a double portrait commission I am currently working on. You can’t really tell from this picture, but I am using a lot more paint here and aiming for more expressive brush strokes all around. And another new approach for me is the palette I am using, it is basically the Zorn palette with three additional colors (Cad red, Cad yellow light, Yellow ocher, Black, White, Prussian blue and a color similar to Magenta).

“Ben, Anna & Charlie”

My latest portrait commission, Ben, Anna & Charlie.
My latest portrait commission, “Ben, Anna & Charlie”. Photograph by MooseNChick.

The painting above, “Ben, Anna & Charlie” has been a very special commission for me on many levels. The children (and their parents) are all close to my family. Anna was one of my first art students and the boys are both good friends of my son. I began this painting over a year ago and shortly upon starting it I lost my mother. I am grateful to my clients for being so supportive of my work and of me during that difficult transition. Working on their painting became very therapeutic and when I look at it now I see a lot of growth in me, both from a technical standpoint as well as emotionally. I would often catch myself smiling back at them as I painted each of their faces. And I am sure I will miss seeing them everyday in my studio now that it is finally going home.

I want to formally thank Stacy & Brian for allowing me the privilege of painting their beautiful children. Your family has been quite a blessing to me. Thank you!

Work in Progress (WIP)

Work in progress on a commission for my father–a portrait of him and my son.

I thought it would be a good idea to post a WIP shot of my latest painting commission (click on the photo to enlarge it). Notice the faint vertical and horizontal lines all over the grey primed canvas? They are grid marks. I transfer images to canvas the old fashioned way because I don’t want to skip out on any of the drawing–especially if I am working from a reference photo as I am doing here. I lay in the initial drawing with Conte pencil and then make the lines more permanent by going over it in oil with burnt umber. Then I jump right into painting the local color thinly because I want to achieve the “fat over lean” recipe. Normally I build up the entire canvas at the same time which is what was taught to me back in art school, but I have come to realize since then that a lot of realist painters paint one section at a time trying to get as far as they can in one area with the time they have available (in more of an alla prima way). So I plan on trying that approach here.

I see my “process” as kind of a moving target. I am always tweaking it in an effort to achieve better results in a shorter amount of time. “Stream-lining” it if you will. So don’t be surprised if a couple months from now you check in on another WIP only to find I have changed things up considerably. Its the way I roll baby, try and keep up.