On Getting Started

Because each Nichols portrait will be for you a precious heirloom, cherished for generations to come, Dr. Nichols approaches each portrait as a unique creative adventure. He seeks to get to know his clients before he commences work on a portrait. He generally works from a combination of photographs that he takes himself or that are provided. When he does posthumous portraits, he collects as many photos of the subject as possible.

The Goal of Preparation

Preparation for the portrait is very important.  The goal of the preparation phase of the portrait-process is to provide Dr. Nichols with all of the elements that he needs to produce a portrait that is sterling in its likeness to the subject and dramatically striking in its portrayal of the subject.  It is crucial that the initial concept of the painting be developed in collaboration with the client. Dr. Nichols helps each client make decisions on the mood and setting of the portrait, its composition, what the subject will be wearing, the background, personal objects, where the painting will hang and other conceptual elements.

Do you have to sit for a portrait?

  1. Only if you wish. Dr. Nichols provides clients a choice. He paints some of his classic portraits in these ways:
    Some portraits are done from photos that you provide. The photos provide a likeness of facial features but always need a full range of other elements that the artist brings to the painting himself.
  2. Sometimes Dr. Nichols’ portraits are painted from photos that he takes himself. He will often photograph the person or group in a wide range of angles and positions to get the best possible likeness and variety of expressions.
  3. On some occasions, people prefer to be painted from a series of personal sittings at a special location or in his studio.Each portrait is personalized as to the background, mood, style and position and clothing of the subjects. The photos are primarily used to provide facial expression and likeness to the portrait.


Developing the Layout

Dr. Nichols believes that a quality portrait will tell the story of the subject by the way he or she stands, the angle of the gaze, body rhythm, setting, lighting, surroundings, and expression. He combines elements from his photographic, compositional and color studies with his intuitive impressions of the subject to produce a special kind of portrait.  With this approach, a Nichols portrait goes far beyond a mere photograph and becomes for you a rich, compelling work of art. When he finishes his photography, he returns to his studio to work out a draft layout composition and color scheme through a series of studies and sketches. When the draft layout is finished, he presents it to the client for approval. After approval, he returns again to his studio to finish the portrait.

Proper Framing

Once the painting is complete, Dr. Nichols will work with you to pick just the right frame to complement the portrait. The price of the frame is not included in the artist’s fee.  However, if you wish for Dr. Nichols to purchase a frame for you, he is happy to do and will supply you with the cost of the frame.

Timing Is Critical

Nichols accepts only a limited number of commissions per year. He only accepts requests that he can complete within his and his client’s timetable.  He does not accept a request if there is not adequate time to complete the painting according to his standards.

Payment Schedule

A 50% deposit, along with any travel expenses, is required upon signing of the commissioning agreement of the portrait to secure a place in his docket. An additional 25% payment is due at the time of the client’s approval of the layout draft.  Final payment is due upon completion of the portrait. If a second figure is added to the portrait, the client will add 50%.  If additional people are added, 30% will be added for each additional figure. Costs for larger portraits (over 36 X 45) or multiple portraits are available upon request.  Unusually complicated background settings, intricate clothing patterns, pets or additional objects may be extra and will be decided prior to the commissioning agreement. If travel is required, travel expenses are extra. Shipping, packing, handling, and insurance are included in the price quoted.

Costs for pet portraits, miniature portraits or the new “Prima” line of portraits (painted completely from life) are available on request.  Commissioning Dr. Nichols to create artwork other than portraits, i.e. custom still life and landscapes, is done on an individual basis.

For no-obligation fees or scheduling questions please contact Dr. Nichols through the contact page.