Where to have an original portrait painted

Artist Kevin McEvoy of Islip paints a portrait Artist Kevin McEvoy of Islip paints a portrait from a live sitting. Photo Credit: Photo by Lucille Paulsen

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It's only 52 days till Christmas - not too early to start making your gift list. If you're tired of the usual electronics or gift cards (ho hum), or looking to please the person who has everything, why not consider a present that's truly one-of-a-kind: an original portrait?

Dozens of Long Island artists paint and draw portraits on commission, in styles to suit every taste. Prices range from $150 on up - in many cases, not much more than you'd spend to give a digital camera or flat-screen TV. But take heed; if it's original artwork you're after, you can't be a last-minute shopper.

Here's a sampling of artists; for more, contact your local arts council.

Yvonne Dagger: Massapequa, 516-297-0048, ypdagger@aol.com

Specialty: Pets

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Cost: $250-$400
Order by:First week in December

Style: A combination of impressionism and pop, with traditional representational influences. "My passion has always been animals," says Dagger, 58, who paints in acrylics or oils, working from photographs. Her portraits of shelter dogs and cats awaiting adoption are featured at marthastewart.com; she donates a portion of her fee to animal shelters.

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Jane Simonds: Locust Valley, 516-384-6203, jfspainter@mac.com

Specialty: Houses
Cost:$1,800-$3,500
Order by: Nov. 25

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Style: Primitive. Her acrylic paintings are done from a bird's-eye perspective and include family members engaged in their favorite pursuits. Simonds, 63, visits each home to photograph and take notes. She began painting after she commissioned an artist to paint her house in Maine and was not happy with the result. "I decided I could do better myself," she says.

Lucille Paulsen:Water Mill, 631-726-9536, lucilleberrillpaulsen@gmail.com

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Specialty: People
Cost: $2,000-$5,000
Order by: Contact the artist

Style: Representational. "That's what counts," says Paulsen, 62, who works in oils or pastels, and prefers to meet her subjects and photograph them herself. "I always try to find something behind the face," to capture an attitude. Her work is on view through Nov. 13 at the East End Arts Council gallery in Riverhead (eastendarts.org).

Kevin McEvoy:Islip, 631-365-2427, kevinwilliammcevoy@gmail.com

Specialty: People
Cost: $3,000-$10,000
Order by: Mid-November

Style: Naturalism. While most portrait artists paint from photographs, McEvoy paints from sittings. A typical sitting is 3 hours (20 minutes on, 10 minutes off, and yes, you are allowed to move); a painting might require six or seven sittings. "It's a dialogue," says the 28-year-old artist, who paints in oils and worked construction before studying art in Italy. "I talk to my sitters the entire time; I learn their personality."

Desmond Ambrose:Bayville, 516-506-2679, dezmodius@yahoo.com

Specialty: People, pets
Cost:$150-$600
Order by: Contact the artist

Style: Photo-realistic portraits in pencil or charcoal. Ambrose, 39, creates highly detailed likenesses working from photographs. Because of his medium, he says he is able to take orders "right up to the last minute."

Suzanne Berry: Coram, 631-736-0287, suzanneberry.com

Specialty:People, pets, houses
Cost: $125-$2,500
Order by: Mid-November
Style:Representational, realism

Pamela Gates Capozzola: Westhampton Beach, 631-835-8024,, pam.capozzola@gmail.com

Specialty: People, pets, places
Cost: Starting at $500
Order by: Nov. 15
Style:Impressionist

Candace Elizabeth Eaton:Northport, 631-757-8864, eatonportraits.com

Specialty:People, pets
Cost:Pastels $800-$1,500; oils $1,500 - $10,000
Order by: Early December for oils; mid- December for pastels
Style: Traditional; works from sittings.

Nanette Fluhr:Dix Hills, 631-327- 5553, NFluhrArtist@aol.com

Specialty:People
Cost:$5,000 and up
Order by:Not available for Christmas delivery
Style: Representational/traditional

Jahn Guarino: East Northport, 631-368-4800, jahnguarino.com

Specilaty:People, dogs, cats, horses, places
Cost: $500 and up
Order by: As soon as possible
Style: Watercolors

Elizabeth Nehls:Jamesport, 631-252-9173, elizabethnehls.com

Specialty:People, especially children, and houses
Cost:$300 - $2,000
Order by: As soon as possible for holiday delivery
Style: Realistic

Pamela Long Nolan: Northport, 631-266-3793, pamelalongnolan.com

Specialty:People
Cost:Pastels $1,200 - $2,600; oils $2,000 - $10,000
Order by: Not available for holiday delivery
Style: Representational, works from sittings

David Peikon: Bethpage, 516-707-6520, artistdavidpeikon.com

Specialty:People
Cost:$2,500- $35,000
Order by: Not available for Christmas delivery
Style: Realism

Virginia Pierrepont: Glen Head, 516-316-0917, virginiadesigns.net

Specialty:Children, family, pets
Cost:$1,500 - $10,000
Order by: Last week in November for oil portraits; second week in December for digital C-prints enhanced with pastels
Style: Classic

Angela Stratton: Selden, 631-696-8081, strattongallery.com

Specialty:People; also does pets and houses
Cost:Pets, houses, $700-$1,500; people, $2,000 and up
Order by: As soon as possible
Style: Traditional realism

LOCAL ARTS COUNCILS
To find a portrait artist, contact your local Arts Council. The staff there can recommend artists working in every style and medium.

Nassau County

Long Island Arts Council at Freeport :516-223-2522, liacfreeport.org

Town of Oyster Bay Arts Council:516-797-7926, tobac.org

Suffolk County

Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts:631-587-3696
babylonarts.com

Brookhaven Arts and Humanities Council:631-451-9070, brookhavenarts.com

East End Arts Council:631-727-0900, eastendarts.org

Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council:631-473-5220, gpjac.org

Huntington Arts Council:631-271-8423, huntingtonarts.org

Islip Arts Council: 631-224-5420, islipartscouncil.org

Northport Arts Coalition:secretary@northportarts.org,
northportarts.org

Patchogue Arts Council: info@patchoguearts.org, patchoguearts.org

Smithtown Township Arts Council:631-862-6575, stacarts.org

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