If I am commissioned by any client I will firstly listen to what they want. I may then suggest alternatives, but am happy to work with the client all the way through. If I am paying for something personal to me, I would expect the artist to really value those things that I want, and I do my my best to create that in return. I am a collaborative artist rather than being too ego driven, however I will be quite determined in my vision and as an artist I insist on my own compositions and light sources, however I will work with the client to achieve what they want by involving them in the selection process of images I may use and explain why, and I keep a dialogue going throughout the process. I prefer to work from life but appreciate this isnt always possible, especially when painting children, so I do use photographic reference sometimes. However I do not ‘copy’ the photo, I often work with several, as there is something timeless about a painting not replicated in a photograph. It also means that the client can be anywhere in the world, rather than having to be around the corner! I find the English in particular worry about the vanity aspect or perhaps having a feeling of it being a rather self indulgent pursuit to have a portrait painted, but just remember a painting will last generations and I am lucky to have many family portraits of close relatives going back a way and they always give me such pleasure and are deeply personal. Also having your child painted is a way of capturing a valuable period in ones life, before that child becomes an adult and everything that brings, and its the innocence and character of that child that I love to capture.