Contemporary artist Elizabeth R. Whelan paints our world in all its complexity. Working from her studio on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, Whelan creates distinctive fine art paintings that will last generations.

Contact Elizabeth Whelan

Elizabeth R. Whelan: The Value of a Portrait

Seeing art in person can be a life-changing experience, both humbling and inspiring.
And in any art museum, portraits are everywhere: in every style, color, and size, from every country and created by every type of artist.

In a portrait's brushstrokes we find a path connecting us to another human on a timeless level.

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, van Gogh and Rembrandt's many self-portraits, these are just a few of the well-known portraits that have come down to us through the ages. Their popularity is testimony to the power and value of capturing personality, character, and aspect, on canvas.

Oil paint captures the living qualities of the human face and body like no other medium. Skillfully handled, the portrait transcends technique and draws the viewer in, and a single artist creates a treasure for us all.

The Painting Commission Process

Commissioning a portrait or other painting is a significant moment, and Elizabeth Whelan makes the process straightforward and enjoyable.
Portrait Process
Commissioning and sitting for a portrait is an exciting and unique experience.
Portrait Fees
A guide to portrait fees, which are based on factors including the size and complexity of the painting.
Other Commissions
Elizabeth Whelan also paints nautical and coastal subjects, landscapes, still life, as well as animals.
Visit the artist's studio
Working from her studio on Martha's Vineyard, Elizabeth paints and draws daily. Art is the foundation of her life.
What her clients say:
Your talent and love and generosity make the painting shine and we are very grateful that you hold us gently at a moment in our lives and in a place that we all love dearly.
portrait painting testimonial elizabeth whelan

Mother of family Martha's Vineyard

Thank you so much...We think it looks amazing and beautiful and really captures [our retiring CEO].
portrait painting testimonial elizabeth whelan

US luxury jewelry company New York City

The portrait of [father] exceeds our expectations. You must hear this from all your happy clients. Each day we enjoy another aspect of it.
painting testimonial elizabeth whelan

Family of portrait subject Martha's Vineyard

My portrait was unveiled this a.m. You are a true genius and master! ...Thank you again for all you did and because of you, it was truly painless.
portrait painting testimonial elizabeth whelan

Retired doctor, surgeon New York City

I started out using mostly Winsor & Newton and Sennelier professional quality oil paints, and kept to these brands until their qualities became very familiar. I have since added in colors from Michael Harding, Williamsburg, Gamblin, and Rublev. And I have been mixing up my own oil paint recently! It's not hard to do. Pigments and supplies are available from Ancient Earth Pigments and Natural Pigments. All it takes is a muller and grinding surface, colored pigment, oil, and elbow grease. Plus, the pigments can be used to make watercolor, gouache, egg tempera, etc. You can mix your own combinations, as well as use historic pigments that aren't available commercially in tubes.

I also highly recommend using Gamsol as a solvent; it's a very artist-friendly product. I mix it with 2:1 with stand oil or walnut oil to make a nice medium. And I occasionally use Liquin if I am in a hurry, also Galkyd Lite for speed in drying, and Neo Meglip if I want to keep the paint workable.

For brushes I still use some hog bristle brushes, however now I'm venturing into the synthetics with great success. Longevity is aided by keeping the rough dunking in caustic cleaners to a minimum, so I tend to wipe my brushes rather than constantly clean them as I work. At the end of a painting session, I clean all my brushes with soap and warm water.

For canvases, I most often use the Fredrix brand of cotton and linen canvas and sometimes use Claessens linen canvas which I buy in a roll. Lately, I have been mounting the canvas to aluminum panels, which I cut to custom sizes, and I adhere the canvas with Lineco neutral pH adhesive.