Figuring out exactly what type of painting a commission client wants is harder than you might think. I start with having them review my past work and telling me which elements appeal to them. Then I ask about size, color palette, mood, and more.
I’m just starting a new commission and I thought it would be fun to share the process. The client wants the painting for her bedroom in Nantucket. She likes my “wonky circles”, the botanical elements, and the texture of layering paint and collage elements in my other paintings. She needs a 30″ x 40″ canvas and is thinking of something with the ocean. Her color palette is blue, tan, cream, and orange.
I decided to paint some sample ideas to narrow down her preferences even more. I was traveling last week so I couldn’t whip out paints and canvas on the airplane. Instead, I tried out the painting app Procreate on my iPad. Here are three ideas I presented to her.
Study One – A soothing, soft painting to enhance the calmness desired in a bedroom. The painting loosely hints at plants living both under and along the shoreline of the ocean.
Study Two – A more graphic style with the energy of the crashing waves streaming through the tide pools
Study Three- A more abstract image with lots of layers of collage-paper and paint. It’s an underwater scene of a reef that teems with life. The surging currents sweep the elements back and forth with the tides.
What’s your favorite study and why? Next steps…to talk more about what she likes, changes to make, additions or subtractions, color tweaks, and more. Stay tuned!
Have you ever wondered what is involved when commissioning a painting? Let me take you through the steps of how it works with me.
Step 1: It starts with a simple conversation about what the client is looking for in a painting. This includes the subject matter, size of work, color scheme, and general style and mood. I like for the clients to look through my current and past artwork to see if there are any particular paintings or color schemes that appeal to them. Price is also discussed.
I visit the location the painting is going to be in, notice the other artwork hanging near it, plus the color of furnishings in the room. While I don’t believe good art has to match the sofa, there’s no reason it shouldn’t if that’s important to the client.
Step 2: I show the client several thumbnail sketches of composition ideas to pick from. These simple visuals help the client discover if they like a dynamic or more soothing mood to their painting. We discuss and revise the composition as needed
Step 3: I work up a couple of different color schemes using the composition they picked. We discuss them and I take notes on changes to incorporate into the final painting.
By this point, we’ve determined a concept, composition, and color scheme. Hopefully, everyone is comfortable with the direction of the painting. This is when I ask them to sign a contract and make a 50% non-refundable deposit.
In the pictures below, the client liked a previously sold painting of mine but wanted one that was bigger and a different color scheme which included an array of pinks. I used Photoshop to mock up a couple versions to narrow down just how MUCH pink they wanted.
Step 4: About 70% of the way through, I’ll send an update with the image to the client inviting them to review and make comments and suggestions. At this point, it’s still easy to edit and make adjustments. I do this again at the 95% completion point to let them make any final changes.
Step 5: When the painting fully completed, I sign, photograph, and varnish it. Once dry, it is shipped to its new home with the final invoice.
Communication is key. I encourage it throughout the entire process. I choose to communicate via email because it gives the client time to review and live with the work without being put on the spot for an immediate response. I’ve also used FaceTime so we could view the painting in real time while making adjustments.
Well, not living in the subway myself, but hopefully my artwork will. I was recently selected as a finalist by the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Arts and Design division to submit a design for one of five subway stations in Queens on the N line. I am attending a meeting on Tuesday to learn more about their RFP (request for proposal) requirements and my final design is due by Oct. 31. The MTA proposed budget for each station is around $150,000 for the creation, fabrication, and installation of the work. Send good vibes my way because I really want to GET this commission!
Almost two months ago, I started a painting commission and I wanted to share the process with you. After getting approval on the basic composition from some simple sketches, I worked up two small studies with very different color directions.
The client picked the orange study but he wanted more orange, less red on the bottom, wasn’t fond of some of the black, and eliminated any ink “doodles”. Armed with a better idea of my client’s taste, I began work on a larger canvas. Here are several stages the painting went through along the way, incorporating the changes and preferences of the client’s each time. As my process incorporates many layers of paint and hand-printed collage paper, adding more layers only enhanced the final painting by adding depth, texture, and complexity.
Though the final painting loosely resembles the original study, it took on a life of its own through the collaborative process to its finish. It was really fun to work together to create a painting we are both happy with.