Michael Saunders is a portrait sculptor who lives and works in Warwickshire. He loves the challenge of bringing the subject to life in the clay and capturing something more than just a likeness. The passion for faces began after retirement and he has been greatly helped in developing his craft by an established portrait sculptor in Devon.
Have you thought of commissioning a portrait?
Michael explains what is involved.
The first stage is to discuss what is required and whether you think I can do what you want. Decisions about material and size, see below, have to be made early on. The next step is to take some photographs which allows me to do some of the work without the subject being present.
Typically a portrait involves five sittings, at the client’s home or my studio, spread over a month or two. I am very happy to travel but there may be expenses. Sittings are relaxed and last between an hour and a half an hour. Where children are the subjects sittings are even more relaxed, and shorter! Coffee, chat and movement are fine. Comments from friends and family are always helpful as the portrait progresses. As the head developes we will need to agree the pose – often important to the finished product.
I prefer the simple finish of fired clay and there is a choice of clay from the warm red terracotta to buff stoneware and white or cream clays with variations in texture. However, the fired clay can be patinated, or a mould can be made and the head cast in a variety of materials. The most expensive would be a traditional cast in foundry bronze but there is a variety of much less expensive materials that can be very attractive. Examples can be seen in my Gallery.
Usually the portrait is approximately life size, but it does depend on where the portrait is to be located, and in some places smaller than life size may be more suitable. It can be larger than life but the result would be rather herculean.
The price includes mounting the finished head on a plinth, usually hard wood.
A simple fired clay head is £695.