Hello, dear reader. This very first commission deserves a post before we finish up Petra and the Middle East travels.
Last May I received a commission to paint the treasured scene of a dear family’s backyard.
The work was done in Windsor Newton watercolors, on 22×30” Arches 140 lb. paper.
There were several stages to this commission:
- Meet and greet: Client and artist see if they and the subject are a good match for each other.
- Contract and Deposit: A contract is agreed upon and initial deposit is paid.
- The sketch: Artist studies the subject and comes up with a ‘mini’ version of the painting. Client and Artist discuss and tweak till the client is satisfied.
- Painting: The artist now begins the final painting. Last minute little tweaks may be made.
- Framing and Delivery: The artist brings the framed work, which was discussed after seeing the finished work, to its new home!
- Follow up: Just a nice check-in to hear how the painting is settling into its new home.
Thanks very much to you artists who volunteered information and tips on how to go about making a contract for art commissions!
In the preliminary stage, there was a lot of visiting the scene, talking to the family, taking close up pictures, sketching in various ways, and trying out different ways of approaching painting.
One day, I even packed a little picnic, complete with a beer, to take with me after work and sit and take the scene in, and play around with some pencil sketching.
Then, it was finally settling on sketching several different points of views and painting them.
I sketched them all on location and then painted them in my studio/room. Ideally I would have done all of the painting on location, but the nature of life those days made it so that better focus was had at the desk.
The first one was chosen!
So after that, I began to do a full-sized value study.
When that was done, I went and took some more close pics for study references and analyzed the tree shapes.
It was time to paint.
It’s always a big step, but this is for a commission!
All of a sudden, I began to get a sort of internal stage fright.
I tried very hard to coach myself into thinking like Bob Ross: “Only happy little mistakes here.” The biggest help were the words a friend said to me: “Bridget, they hired you because they like your style -keep doing it the way you would do it any other time!”
And it worked.
The longer I spent working on it, the easier and more confident I became. Of course, listening to Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins really encouraged the process.
It took about a month to the finish the painting, once it was started.
“The Hill” was finished right on time, and yes, I kept finding things I wanted to tweak! I was nearly late for my flight to visit a friend because of that!
After that, since it was the first time I would be framing someone else’s work, and hopefully not the last, I compared Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Art Prints Express to see where the best and most budget friendly framing could be done.
Art Prints Express won the contest: Michelle is friendly, has lots on suggestions and explanations if you need them, charges very reasonably, and almost all of her supplies are made in the USA.
After my wonderful clients selected the framing and on where it was going to be hung, the painting was dropped of for digitization and the final framing touch.
It was an exciting day and a genuine honor when it came time to deliver “The Hill,” all framed to a satisfied pair of clients.
Thank-you so much to Mr. and Mrs. Stepehn Merz for their encouraging support and trust in this blooming artist! I hope that you will love the picture for years to come.
Thank-you Michelle and Jennifer at Art Prints Epxpress for all your advice and encouragement.
Thank-you to Grandma, Dad, Mom, Anna and Clare, Katlin, and all my other friends who encouraged me as well, and gave me their honest opinions on how things looked.
As a teacher, at the end of a work day, I reflect over it and take note of what went well and what needs to be improved. I find that the same process can be applied to making art. I am a tool, in the same way that the teacher is a tool, and as the students mirror how the lesson went and the teacher manages, so the art mirrors the artist.
I’ve written those points down elsewhere and hopefully my future work will benefit from those learning opportunities.
Once thing I am very proud of is how crisp and neat the entire picture looked. That’s how I want my work to look.
Thanks so much for reading and looking at all the pictures! I hope you enjoyed the journey!
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If you’re interested in having me do a commission, or owning a copy of any work on my blog, please do shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.