Cambridge artist Gath, who has an M.F.A. from MassArt, works for something more than a two-dimensional likeness; she strives to recreate her subjects’ presence. “Until that moment comes,” she says, “no painting is done.” When handing over a finished work (usually painted from a photo), she always includes a handwritten note detailing her process.
Oil, $1,500–$2,600 per portrait.
A Rhode Island School of Design alum, Hradecky prefers her subjects relaxed
and natural—no fake smiles needed. If working from a photograph, she asks for multiple images and emphasizes that location is not important; she rarely includes backgrounds in her work (welcome news to parents sick of overstaged Walmart-esque sets).
Graphite and watercolor, $450 for a 22-by-30-inch portrait.
Although Boston-based Phaneuf prefers to meet with her subjects in person, she’s also able to work from a photograph—but the more photos she gets, the better. “There’s a certain posture and temperament that can be discerned from a dozen photos,” says Phaneuf, who went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. “A person’s body language, sequence of motion, and gaze are revealing.”
Pastel and oil, $750–$1,200.