Approaching a commission

Feb 18, 2022

Over the years I have had quite a few requests for commissions, some I have taken up, others I haven't. It's not something I undertake regularly as I don't always have the time they need dedicating to them - and they do need more of my time than a painting I create for an exhibition.

Why is that?


Getting to know you

Firstly it's about getting to know you and understanding what it is you are looking for in a painting. Most people have some idea of what they want but it's through these initial conversations with you that I am able to tease out more details such as size, particular scenes to capture, colours even.

It's really important to have those conversations and through that process I show you examples of work that I have previously created. Not to put you on the spot about whether you like a painting or not (it is okay, honestly, to say you don't like a painting), but to gain insight as to what you mean and ensure we are on the same page.

When you say you like specific colours it's important to ensure that we are talking about the same colour. A red to me maybe a completely different shade of red to you. A painting which may appear dark to you may be quite a bright one (in comparison to my usual style) for me. 

I have found over the years that taking an hour or so to meet with clients either face-to-face or over zoom to understand a little bit more about what they do and don't like, helps me determine whether I am able to undertake their commission.

It also helps to build the relationship.


Understanding the subject

Being a landscape artist I receive a lot of requests to paint a specific area which means something to my clients. If it is an area that I am not familiar with I like to go and spend some time there.

That's because my work is influenced by the landscape that I've been in and I need to visit, walk, and understand the light and how it changes across the landscape. I generally don't work from sketches or photos so it is important that I have the time to visit a place.


Coming to an agreement

If we agree to go ahead with the commission an agreement is drawn up which basically outlines what you are looking for, what you prefer not to have in a painting, if there is flexibility around sizes then the minimum and maximum size of the painting, and timescales and costs, including any deposit upfront.

Once that is all agreed the process commences.


The process

Throughout the process I like to send through images of progress. This is to reassure you that I am cracking on with the commission but also to check-in and ensure I haven't strayed from your brief. 

Creating layers

For this 30th wedding anniversary commission I sent images of the triptych in progress including preparing the boards for the painting as I knew it would be a long process and I didn't want my clients to be wondering what was taking so long.

Commission in situ

Once a painting is completed images are sent to ensure you are happy before the painting goes off to be framed.

Completed commission

On this occasion a call to the client was made when I was at the framers as the framing for this triptych was complex. 

Choosing the right frame


All in all the process can take between 3-4 months from starting a painting to delivery. Commissions generally need to be scheduled into my calendar and around commitments for exhibitions and galleries. So for example a commission I am talking with someone now (February 22), won't be started until October 22 when I get to visit the area which will be the focus of the painting.

If you would like to know more about commissioning a painting from me or if you are an artist who would like advice on how to approach a commission then do get in touch. Alternatively post a question below and I will get back to you.



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