How to handle commissions

If we think about it, art historians mention often how many paintings from the past were solely commissioned. Generally, most notable artists either worked for the church or for very wealthy patrons that wanted portraits done of their family members.

old lyme,Connecticut,oil painting,gabor svagrik

Many great artists we've admired over the past 150 years have continuously painted commissions. This was not uncommon.  Edgar Payne used to paint theater backdrops and John Singer Sargent painted wealthy families. For the most part commissioned work requires an artist to have a special kind of personality. You have to be able to communicate with the client and find a way to place their idea into your painting and make it all work.  Often this way of working can quickly turn a painting into an illustration.

I believe the invention of the camera actually freed artists up from this type of work. Patrons can now take pictures of subject matter they want to keep & adore forever. Now it is more of a luxury to commission an artist to do a specific painting for an individual or family.  As we know not everyone can afford these beautiful paintings they so desire, but the camera can take a picture and try to capture that beauty for them. Fine art paintings are still about provoking an emotion in the viewer and seeing the passion of the artists creativity brought to life through their brushwork on canvas. In my opinion, the camera will still have a very hard time capturing these same things.

So yes, technology has taken over for being able to quickly capture a moment in time, but paintings will remain a part of our future to express emotions.

These are my "5 tips" to consider if you do get a request to paint a commission:
1) Make sure you have set guidelines before you begin. Sometimes this may be a sign off/approval on the smaller study first.

2) Discuss how many changes you are willing to make before the client is satisfied.

3) Decide if you will allow the client the right to refuse the piece once it is finished.

4) Ask for a down payment, whether it is 1/4 or 1/2 of the final price.

5) Be sure to discuss framing choices and shipping costs

Remember that the choice is ultimately yours to take on a commission, or have the client choose from work you already have completed. I do not paint commissions any more. I will though, allow a collector, to pick from a specific area I have painted in and work up other pieces they may like. This way there is no obligation to purchase, and I have the freedom to design the painting and add my artistic poetry. Once completed if they like it great! If not, this piece will remain until it finds the perfect home. Bottom line be very happy and proud  with each piece that you release from your studio, because you never know where it may end up in the future with your name etched on the canvas for all to see.

What I look for in a painting

This was a critique giving to a student in my online course - Concept to Canvas.  She allowed me to post this, so others could learn from what I explained and apply it to their own work. No matter what the medium,  the fundamentals are the fundamentals. This is so important to know for growth in your own paintings.  

If you want to see my instructions in a full feature video CLICK here to find out more. 

[video] How and why NOT to over explain

Simplifying is a language that every artist regardless of medium or subject must try to understand. We are all guilty of putting too much detail in our own paintings when it is not necessary. My friend, William Reese, said that all of us have the Kodak gene inside. This is so true. I made this video to show you what not to do in your own paintings if you want to create poetry.

To further your knowledge CLICK HERE to see my full feature instructional videos

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Paint Through Objects part 2

You saw in the previous video how I explained painting through things. In this demonstration I will physically show you how I went about painting the highlights up on the rocks. I think you will gain more confidence in painting through objects rather done up to edges which does not have an organic look.

To further your knowledge CLICK HERE to see my full feature instructional videos.

[ Design ] How much sky to leave in

In this video I want to show you what I was thinking when I designed this painting. Before we even think about paint one must think hard about the placement of shapes. I only see shapes now days before I begin my design. I do not look at the object for what they are (tree,rock,water,mountains) but for how may they help my over all balance of my painting. 

To further your knowledge CLICK HERE to see my full feature videos. 

[ Brushwork ] and its importance in the visual journey

One of the beauties of oil painting is its ability to have physical texture. Watercolor and pastels also have their own unique qualities but oil is the only medium that you can build up thick texture. In this short video, I will explain how I play with texture.

Interested in improving your paintings? CLICK HERE to see my full feature instructional videos.