How to Commission a Painting – 5 Simple Tips for Buyers

Abstract artist Rachael Harbert stands next to a blank canvas on a easel with a paint brush in her hand

What does it mean if you want to commission a painting? It means that you, the collector, hires an artist to create a custom painting. You likely want the process to be easy. Most importantly, you want to be happy with the final result.

Here are 5 Simple Tips that will help you collaborate effectively with an artist so that you have an awesome commissioned painting...

Tip #1 – Contact an Artist Whose Paintings You Already Like

It’s best to find an artist or artists whose work you already like. The more familiar you are with an artist’s work that you already like, the more likely you will be well pleased with what he or she paints for you.

The direct approach. If you already know an artist whose work you like, contact the artist directly to let him or her know that you’d like a custom painting.

Find an artist online. You can find an artist whose style you will like by doing some online homework.

Hint: Use Google. Here are some examples of keywords to use: original paintings for sale, abstract artist, expressionistic artist, impressionistic artist, abstract painting, impressionistic painting, expressionistic painting, abstract artist near me, contemporary abstract artist, modern abstract artist, landscape artist, local abstract artist, etc.

Whichever method you use to find an artist, contact him or her regarding a commissioned painting. He or she should be able to guide you through the process.

Tip #2 – Work with an Artist who Makes it Easy

During your initial interactions with the artist, make sure you can say Yes to each of these questions:

  • Is the artist responsive, helpful and honest?
  • Does the artist take charge of the commission process?
  • Does the artist listen to me?

If you find an artist through an art gallery’s website, most likely you’ll need to contact the gallery to commission the artist, and the gallery will manage the commission process. If the gallery’s website lists the artist’s name next to the work you like, you may also try to Google the artist’s name to see if he or she has a website. That way, you can contact the artist directly. Sometimes, though, when an artist is represented by a gallery, the artist is required to refer you to the gallery in order to initiate the commission process.

Tip #3 – Provide Examples of Paintings You Like

Do some homework. Whether you’ve been a collector for years or are just starting out, it’s a good idea to collect photos of paintings that have content or are in a style that you want your commissioned painting to favor. You can eloquently and thoroughly explain to an artist what you want, but a photo will significantly help the artist to understand you.

Let the artist know which of his or her paintings you like and specifically the ones which you want your commission to resemble.  Also, provide the artist examples of paintings that you like which were not painted by the artist. Hint:Use Google to browse through images of paintings, and save the ones that you like. Here are some keywords you could use: abstract painting, impressionistic painting, expressionistic painting, pop art painting, realist painting, portraiture painting, famous abstract painting, abstract painting bold colors, black and white abstract painting, modern abstract painting, abstract painting of a woman, abstract painting of a city, abstract painting of a flower, etc.

Tip #4 – Accept the Risk

Commissioning a painting is not an exact science, but by using the 3 tips above, you will have the best chance of being completely satisfied with your commissioned painting. Plus, the artist should send you at least one photo of the painting’s progress to make sure that you are satisfied with it and for you to provide feedback on changes that should be made.

What happens, though, if you are not satisfied with the final painting?

Simply, your risk is the loss of your deposit. It’s pretty standard that artists require a deposit before starting a commissioned painting, and the amount of the deposit will vary according to the commission price that you and the artist agreed upon.

As a collector, you have the right to refuse the final painting for any reason, but it’s good for you to understand why you will forego the return of your deposit. The deposit is simply a security blanket for the artist – in the very least to ensure that the cost of materials has been covered.

Tip #5 – Enjoy the Reward

Having a commissioned painting can be very satisfying for a collector. Not only can the painting be a work of art that you love, but you can also take personal pride from initiating its creation. Further, you’ll be proud to own a work that is unique and exclusive.

As an artist, I enjoy collaborating with collectors to create custom paintings. I feel proud that a person entrusts me to create such a personal work of art. Of course, I enjoy the creative process itself; it’s another fun opportunity for me to put paint to canvas. On top of it all, it feels great getting paid for doing what I love to do!

If you’re interested in collaborating with me for a custom painting, I would love to hear from you. Please Contact me or visit my Commission Painting page to understand my easy 5 step process.

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