Portrait Commissions

Portrait Commissions
Artist Ellie Contreras

Custom oil portraits from photographs

What could be a better gift than an oil painting portrait of a loved one. I have done several portrait commissions. I am happy to work from photos provided they are suitable, see my guidelines below. I paint alla prima in oil onto stretched canvas, it can be hung as it is or you can frame it in a float frame.


  • 20 x 20cm – £140
  • A4 – £160
  • A3 – £260
  • A2 – £360
  • 50 x 50 cm – £380
  • A1 – £450

Reference Photograph Guidelines

A good reference is essentail for a successful portrait painting. I don’t like to paint full smiles showing teeth as it looks strange in a painting. A small smile with the mouth closed is better. The lighting should be natural daylight. A soft light through a window is ideal. photographs taken on a sunny day can be a problem as it can cause very strong shadows. If in doubt please email me and I can advise you weather your photograph will be suitable or not.

custom portrait painting
oil painting portrait

Child Portrait

Childhood goes so fast, you blink and suddenly they are teenagers. It is so special to have a painting of a child as a permenant reminder of when they are so cute and innocent.

This 20 x 20 paintingof this gorgeous little girl was commissioned by her mother. She sent me a few photographs to look at to see which would work best. We both liked this photograph the best. Her mum told me that she was so proud of her Buttercup chain in her hair, she kept touching it to check it was still there. Initially I was going to leave the hand out but I liked this story so much I decided to paint it in. This was a good photo to paint from as there were no harsh shadows or unatural lighting.

80'th birthday present
80's birthday present

A very special 80’th birthday present

Lilia’s family wanted to give her something special for her 80’th birthday. Something to remind her of her life in Peru (she now lives in America but spent most of her life in Peru). They approached me to ask if I could paint a portrait form an old photo of Lilia, when she was 16 wearing the traditional Peruvian Ñusta clothing.

The biggest challenge was that the photo had limited colour information, being a black and white photo that had been coloured after. My aim was to breath more life into the picture and more authentic colours, a lot of the painting was guess work using my experience of painting different skin tones.

Lilia was so delighted by her present, her family told me she proudly shows it to all her friends when they come to visit.

Portraits of teenagers

Portraits of older children or teenagers can be really great too. Teenagers can be quite self conciouse so the trick is to get them looking natural, maybe with a pet or doing something they love. A candid photo might be better than a posed one. Pouty selfies are best avoided, I think the best portraits reflect the charactor of the subject.

portrait painting teenager
Portrait of 15 year old boy with his dog 50 x 50 cm oil on canvas
Portrait of 13 year old boy A2 size

Some more examples portraits by Ellie Contreras

Nina Simone
Josephine Baker

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about commissioning a portrait or would like to send me a photo to evaluate, please get in touch using the form below.

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