Pixelist oil paintings review

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Have you ever taken a picture and thought how wonderful it would be if you could recreate that picture as a piece of artwork? Unless you have an artist handy or are gifted with art skills yourself, the picture just stays a photograph. I’ve been happy to see services cropping up that will paint the pictures for you, such as Pixelist, and was able to give them a try.

With Pixelist, you can turn your photo into a handmade, custom oil painting. There are eight standard sizes you can choose from on the website, ranging from 12″x 12″ to 30″x 40″. They also will paint a custom size for you if you contact them.

For my painting, I chose an 18″x 24″ portrait. Ordering was quite simple. First, you choose if you want a square, landscape, or portrait painted and then crop the area of the photo you want painted. Next, you’ll choose how many subjects (animals or human) that are to be painted. When you do so, the prices will show for each size.

As you can see, I chose my cat to be painted. Not only is it a great picture of her, but I figured a solid grey cat would be a nice challenge. I had one subject, chose the 18×24, and added it to my cart. It really was a simple ordering process.

It takes between 4-6 weeks for them to finish your painting. A couple weeks after I ordered, I got a picture of the first draft, where they asked if any changes were needed. On this draft, I had them focus on the ‘cheeks’ that seemed too chubby and the tail that was a black blob.

Just as a disclaimer on the draft pictures; they only look darker or lighter due to the photo lighting.

I am nitpicky, so when they sent the second draft, I wanted my cat to stop looking so sad and to have the nose fixed up a little.

On the third draft, it looked pretty good to me except for the minor change in her mouth. I sent that back to be revised and waited excitedly for the final product to come in the mail.

When the painting arrived, the first thing I noticed was the smell. Now, normally that’s a bad thing, but it had that light smell of a real oil painting. It was nicely packaged in bubble wrap and cardboard, then wrapped in plastic. Looking at it in real life, it looked so much better than a picture could describe.

The canvas is framed by fir wood all around and the sides are also painted, while the canvas itself seems pretty thick and durable.

I will say this now, that there is only one thing that I didn’t like about this painting, and that was where they placed the mounting bracket. Since it is located at the top, you will see the nail (or whatever you use to attach it to the wall) when it is hanging. I would suggest they find a different way to mount it. It is not a deal breaker, however.

The detail of the painting is amazing. The fur and the eyes look so realistic. Some of the colors are not as vivid as the picture I sent, but I prefer it this way as the colors just fit the way they are. I asked both my husband and a friend their opinions. My husband loved it and my friend asked if it was done by computer. It was so realistic to him that he thought it was not done by hand.

The quality of the painting is hands down, great. You pay a premium to have your pictures hand painted, but in this case, I believe the price is worth the result you get. $329 for a custom 18×24 oil painting is not too high when you look at the prices of paintings in an art show. I loved how they would tweak the picture until I was satisfied. If you wanted a high quality painting of a picture you’ve taken, I would recommend Pixelist.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Pixelist. Please visit their site for more info.


Product Information

Price:$149 and up ($329 for 1 subject 18x24)
  • - Excellent communication to perfect the artwork before it arrives
  • - Very high detail and quality
  • - Easy to order
  • - Mounting bracket is too high, allowing the nail in the wall to be seen

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2 thoughts on “Pixelist oil paintings review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Ryan,

    Great review. But I have questions.

    Was there a resolution requirement for the image you sent them?

    When they sent you the draft images, what format? PDF? JPEG? Other?

    What was the resolution (detail) of the drafts? Could you zoom in to see details such as the fur and collar you post later in the review?

    Did they tell you what process they actually use? Is it real human starting with a blank canvas? Or is it the process my mother used 50+ years ago where a photo was taken and then oil applied over it? I can’t believe that $329 would cover all the work for a full oil with no cheating by using a photo underneath. Which leads me to…

    If it’s not cheating, then in what country are the underpaid artists working? The amount of work for a true oil painting would make the price/hour about $15. That’s way too little.

    You could try to fix the mounting hook by loosening it and turning it upside down.

    Finally, it is very sad that your friend thought realism could only come from a computer. Check out: http://www.wherecoolthingshappen.com/26-super-realistic-artworks-that-arent-photographs/

    Actually, it is the non-realism of a painting that makes it art. The placement of the fur, highlights in eyes, metal, lights, twinkles, etc. that can only be inserted using an artist’s eye that makes art better than computer. The fact that your friend thought it was done by computer doesn’t make it more realistic. It makes it more stilted.

  3. Hey Sandee!

    To answer your questions the best that I can:

    1 – There was no resolution requirement. The upload had to be less than 5 MB in size. On their website they claim resolution isn’t as much of an issue since it’s painted by hand rather than a print.

    2 – Draft images were in JPG format and the resolution of the smallest one sent was ~2000 x 2000 pixels, though only 300 KB in size. When zoomed in, it was not as clear as my zoomed in photos, but for example, on the first one, I was able to zoom in and see on the photo that there was hardly any detail on the tail.

    3 – Here is a YouTube video of the process! 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAw3KJIUnjA – In the FAQ they said each artist makes around $8,000 a year.

    I will see if turning the mounting hook will work. My other option was to add a wire mount.

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