Commissioning a painting . . . How does that work?

Claudia's meadow, a purple, blue and pink abstract landscape by artist Kathy Ferguson
You’ve got this blank wall in your bedroom but just haven’t found the perfect artwork for this space. You love this particular artist’s work, but they don’t have anything available that fits your needs. You see that they offer commissions, and you wonder if you should consider hiring them to create a custom painting?
That’s where Claudia found herself. Though she loved my work, none of my available paintings worked for her space.  She wanted to commission an artwork but was nervous about the process. How to describe what she wanted when she wasn’t sure herself? What if she didn’t like the final painting? Would I be insulted if she asked for changes along the way? Could she afford it? Would she feel awkward asking me about my process but possibly not hiring me?
I’d love to share our journey together and answer all these questions for you too.
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COMMISSIONING A PAINTING – FAQ
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Pricing?
I charge about $2 a square inch. So a 20″ x 30″ painting is $1200. Smaller artworks are a little more, while more significant works are a little less. Local delivery is free. Shipping with insurance is extra.
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How do we decide what to paint?
We start by meeting (in person or via Zoom) to view your wall space, talk about your color preferences, and the size of work you’re looking for. Next, I will have you skim through 150 other abstract works (some of mine, some by other artists) to get a sense of your art style taste. Do you like busy or calm pieces, bright or muted colors, organic or geometric shapes, etc.?
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samples of colorful abstract paintings
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You shared which artworks you liked, so what’s next?
I see which types of artworks you liked (and didn’t like), and we talk about the images you picked out and why. Using this information, we can narrow down the direction you want the artwork to go. In my studio, I will create two or three small paintings based on our discussion.  After you view these studies, we talk again in-depth about what you like/dislike about each option. We will agree upon the final painting composition, colors, and mood. I will take a 50% deposit to start the commission.
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Three painting ideas I created based on Claudia’s initial comments:
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Abstract landscape of large boulders and rocks in blue, pink, and purple
Organic Circle Idea
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Organic abstract landscape of flowers in blue, pink and purple
Abstract Floral Landscape Idea
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Geometric abstract with blocks of blue, purple, and green
Abstract Geometric Idea
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Can I see the painting in progress?
Of course! Around 70% completion, I will send you a photo of the piece. It is early enough to make changes at this stage but still gives you an accurate idea of the final painting. Colors can be tweaked, elements added or subtracted, and more.
What happens when the painting is finished?
I will do a final check-in with you to see if you want any more changes. When satisfied, I sign and varnish the artwork, add the hanging hardware, and then deliver or ship the painting to you. The remaining balance is collected at this time.
What if I don’t like it even after all our collaboration?
It’s not a problem. First, we determine if it is something I can fix for you. If not, you have 10 days to return the painting to me. I keep the initial deposit for my work up to this point, but you are not responsible for the remaining 50% balance.
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Claudia's Meadow, an abstract landscape painting in blue, purple, and pink by artist Kathy Ferguson

Claudia’s meadow, 20″ x 30″, acrylic and canvas

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Do you have more questions or just want to chat? Click the contact tab at the top of the page. There is no obligation, and there will be no hurt feelings if you decide not to go forward.
If you want to see another commission example, click this link.

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