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

sketch portrait painting artist elizabeth r whelanThe portrait process typically begins with a phone call or email, during which subject matter, size, fees, and schedule are discussed. Elizabeth then makes arrangements to meet with the subject in person, followed by a photo session and often some sketching in oil or graphite/conte crayon. This meeting usually takes a few hours and is important to the success of the final painting.

When Elizabeth is back in her studio, she selects a number of the sketches and photographic references that she believes will combine to create the best composition, and paints a color study. The color study is a small, rough sketch in oil paint that shows the pose, lighting, and other features that may be important to the final painting.  This color study is sent to the client. Changes and adjustments are made at this time, and upon sign-off of the color study the portrait is taken to completion, using the sketches and reference material gathered at the sitting. If necessary, a final sitting is arrcolor study portrait painting artist elizabeth r whelananged.

Please note that Elizabeth Whelan is happy to paint the sitter entirely from life, and encourages the portrait subject to consider this approach. However she has found that modern life does not often allow for a sitter to be available for such a schedule, and likewise, some types of portrait do not lend themselves to this approach. She has had excellent success with working from her reference material and spending the time getting to know her portrait subject is vital to her process.
man young business corporate portrait painting elizabeth r whelan
Upon viewing of the final painting, client satisfaction is paramount, and when the painting is complete Elizabeth Whelan can deliver the portrait depending on the destination or ship it via an insured carrier.

Completion of the portrait can vary from two to six months. Elizabeth Whelan uses only her own photographic reference, with very few exceptions, unless the commission is for a posthumous portrait or the sitter is unavailable for a particular reason. Before agreeing to working from client photos, Elizabeth would like to see the reference from which she will be working, as that will be key to achieving a high-quality finished work. Thank you for your understanding on this point.