Original Portraits from Zahradka Art

Tess, a 2007 commission

Throughout history — long before photography — it was painting and drawing that kept memories alive for future generations. Portraits painted hundreds of years ago are still admired today in museums and homes all around the world. A hand drawn or painted work of art is a beautiful way to commemorate a special event or time. Celebrate a wedding, an anniversary, a beautiful outfit, a child at a special time of life, or a favorite pet.

To create a portrait we start with a photo or series of photos of the subject. These can be provided by you, or a photo session can be arranged. Several photos can be combined to create a single work of art. We're based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, and traveling within the Twin Cities metropolitan area is no problem. If you're further afield, arrangements can be made!

We work in a variety of media. Drawings are done in graphite or color pencil on acid free archival paper. Portrait paintings are done using oil on canvas or board. All of our work has a high level of detail and accuracy, and is created to last for generations.

Fairytale Portraits

In creating a Fairytale Portrait we take your everyday photo and add unique elements and some imagination to create a personalized fairytale. You will have a work of art that is truly unique.

Character Portraits

For historical reenactors a hand painted or drawn portrait is an excellent way to bring the past and the present together. We love history and have over 30 years of experience in many different kinds of historical events. Whether you are into the Renaissance, SCA, Victorian or fur trade, we have the knowledge to create a portrait painting that will be more than just a snapshot of you at your event. We know costumes, weapons, hair and makeup. We can add or subtract, to create the perfect artistic piece, a work of art that will span the centuries.

How to begin

Time is an important factor. Art work takes time to create, and oil paint needs time to dry. We do not have teams of artists standing by. We can make only a limited number of works at any one time. We suggest getting your ideas to us as soon as possible so we may be able to add you to our painting schedule! If you have a favorite photo in mind, that's great. Simply send us a copy, or send us a jpeg via e-mail. We will look it over and let you know what we can create with it, and what kind of costs will be involved.

For even better results a photo session can be arranged either at our studio in St. Paul, Minnesota or at a place of your choosing. Either way, the sooner we hear from you the sooner we can get the process started!


All portraits are quoted on an individual basis. Prices vary depending on the number of elements required; objects, pets, outfit, placement of hands, fairytale elements etc. We will work closely with the client so you know exactly what the cost will be and to arrange payments. Once a price is agreed upon, we stick to it. There won't be any hidden costs.

After we've agreed to a price, we'll take a 50% down payment to begin the work. When we're finished we will send a digital image for your approval. With approval, the balance is then paid. All our work is guaranteed or we will refund your deposits. We want your artwork to be a something you can display proudly, not something you put away in the closet.

In general, the approximate minimum price for a commissioned oil painting is $1000. Colored pencil drawings and graphite pencil drawings will run at least $500 and $250, respectively.

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