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Commissioning Artwork, Creating a Custom Piece

Commissioning Artwork

Steps to creating a custom piece

Commissioning artwork seems scary but can be a very rewarding experience.  Occasionally, we desire a piece of artwork that hasn’t been created yet.  The image may be of a favorite pet, the first home of a family, or a favorite vacation spot.  Or you may have found the perfect piece, but it’s not the right size.  Whatever it may be, an artist can create your image on a canvas that fits the  space you desire to fill.

Step 1 – Select an artist

It’s important to find an artist whose work you are drawn to.  Regardless of the image or color palette, if you don’t like the artist’s style, you will never be happy with the final results.  Each artist interprets an image in different ways, so be sure this is the top priority before anything else in the process.

Commissioned artwork by Ellen Langford

Step 2 – Select an image

If the image is a specific item, place or person/animal, be sure to provide the artist with photos in multiple views of the desired image.  This will allow the artist to see the varied details of the image.  If you prefer an abstract image similar to one they have previously painted, describe to the artist the elements that are most striking and others you prefer to leave out.

Step 3 – Select a size

Consider the place you want to display the artwork.  Is this to be in a more public space of your home or in the  private spaces of your home?  Is this something that will be a show stopper creation over the mantel?  Some items may not translate well in a big size, where as other images may not translate well as a smaller image.  Be sure the size and image work well together.

Step 4 – Select the color palette

Once you have the image, size and room location selected, it’s time to pick the color palette.  It is very helpful to share with the artist the details of the room decor.  That will include wall paint color, fabric swatches, and the style of the room. Be sure the artist knows if you prefer soft colors or bright colors, or if a certain color should not appear in the image.

Commissioned artwork

Step 5 – Open communication

It is imperative that you have honest discussions with the artist.  The more information you can share about what you want in the artwork, the more the artist can meet your expectations.  Each artist strives to create a piece of work that you are thrilled to display in your home.

Step 6 – Final preview and adjustments

Most artists will give progress reports or previews of the work in progress.  This allows you an opportunity to confirm the artist is creating the correct composition.  Previews allow adjustments to be made before too many hours have been spent in the wrong direction.  Once a composition has been approved, the painting process moves quickly to the end result.  Most artist will allow two adjustments after the final preview.  At this point, only slight adjustments are made to the painting.  Typically, if a good channel of communication insists, changes are not necessary.

Step 7 – Installation

This is the best part!  The gallery representative will typically deliver and install the artwork for you.  Most galleries will also mail you a valuation on the painting for insurance purposes as well as a copy of the artist’s biography for your records.  This can be tucked into the back of the canvas for easy reference.  It’s always a good idea to speak with your insurance company to confirm you have adequate amount to cover the additional expense.

Most galleries will work with you step by step in the process to make the experience a pleasant one.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions during the process, so as to avoid problems and disappointments.  They want you and the artist to be happy with the end results.  Good luck!
Commission by Lauren Dunn        Commission by Mary BuckleyCommissioned artwork


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