Why commission a painting?

There are many reasons why someone would commission an artwork but the most common ones are that you admire an artist’s style and would like to specify a particular size, colour range or subject. Perhaps you would like to create a long-lasting memory of somewhere or someone important to you.

Whatever the reason, remember you have asked for an artist’s creativity so allow him or her the freedom to create something meaningful within the guidelines you have agreed on.

How to do it?

1. Familiarise yourself with an artist’s work.

Make sure you see several examples of the type of painting you are interested in and, if the artist’s style has varied over time, try to look at recent examples.

2. Have a chat with the artist.

This doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Most artists love to hear that someone likes their work and are happy to run through some initial thoughts regarding budget, time frame and subject matter. If you are comfortable on the phone give them a call, but if you find that difficult put some questions into an email and discuss the project that way.

3. Time frame is important.

Oil paintings can take a week or more to dry between workings and for artists that use many layers that can add up to a long time. If you can be flexible and allow the artist to suggest a rough timeline that’s perfect, but if you need the artwork for a specific date make sure you start the process several months in advance.

4. Reach an agreement.

Once you’re sure you have both communicated your ideas clearly and you have agreed on a budget, deposit amount (sometimes requested for large works), and delivery details, get some confirmation in writing and let the artist get on with it. Be prepared to trust his or her vision – it’s what you are paying for.

5. Receive your own unique artwork

What an exciting moment… but for some people this is the challenging part of commissions. What will I get and will I like it? Hopefully you’ll love it straight away. If not, live with it for a short time and see if your reactions change. Sometimes the idea in your mind doesn’t match perfectly with the finished piece but you’ll grow to love it even more.

If for any reason you continue to be unhappy with a commissioned work speak to your artist about it. No creative wants to supply something that will be unloved and unappreciated and he or she may be willing to make some alterations.

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