Friday, August 28, 2015

So You'd Like to Commission a Painting?!

So here it is! This was so much fun ~ having the opportunity to collaborate with some one and make it special, just for them! Cindy had a large space to fill in a room that she was re-doing.  The large bank of windows to the right opened up onto her garden.  Each season, new colors and textures unfold.....it's so beautiful out there, a wonderful, private space. But she was not enamored with the colors and textures of winter. She wanted bright color in her room of soft neutrals, with a bright pop to really draw your eye to this focal point....and celebrate the garden that she enjoys so much in the Spring and Summer. 
 
When Cindy first came to me for a commission, she wasn't sure where to start. She said, "I love your paintings - I love looking at them when I receive your emails, but I'm just not sure where to begin".  This is a normal question! My job is to help you determine the colors and theme of what you prefer, narrow some choices, and hone in on a design meant for your space.  I have a list of questions for my collectors to help me determine what may fit their space.  If the collector is local, I can go to their house with sample canvas sizes, so they can "lay eyes" on how that size canvas fits the space...and if they prefer framing I can provide that as well.  
 
My prices are based on price per square inch.  I send the list of "price per size" immediately when someone first makes a commission request. That way they can determine what will fit their space, and their budget. Once the size and format is agreed upon, I write up everything we've discussed in an email - so the project is clear, beginning to end; and request a 50% deposit before I begin. That allows me to purchase not only materials for the painting, but the time to put into it that won't be used painting other paintings! 
 
Once a basic format is decided upon (square, or rectangular, and the size),  I will draw up to four various designs to help narrow down the selection.  Once I make a basic drawing, I'll work up a smaller painting as a 'color study' to scale, so that the collector can imagine the finished piece, make any color corrections, or design changes at that time. Only once those are finished, and presented we can discuss which might work best in the space for the painting.  
 
For this project - which was to be a 36"x36"x2" deep, I did the paint sketches on 8"x8" panels. Here's the four we considered:
http://roxannesteed.com/works/1844242/study-for-cindys-garden
Study for Cindy's Garden
 
http://roxannesteed.com/works/1844294/coral-begonias
Coral Begonias
 
http://roxannesteed.com/works/1844300/cherry-tree-fantasy
Cherry Tree Fantasy
 
http://roxannesteed.com/works/1844304/blossoms-in-shade
Blossoms in Shade
 
These gave us some various ideas to discuss. Mainly- a good idea of how color will look.  She knew she wanted a coral-orange color within the design to bring a big pop of color to the room, that she could repeat with various other accessories (pillows, etc). Each of these had the color in there to some degree. We both love florals, but to have this design (#2-begonias) as a 36x36 was just overwhelming. So that narrowed things down to 'just landscapes'- still a broad category!
Selection #3 (Cherry Tree Fantasy) was painted thinking of all the great shapes in her back-garden landscape. Each season something new comes into bloom...but here I played a "what if". What if the blooms of the cherry tree were a bit more coral, rather than soft pink?...and what if it bloomed the same time as the hydrangea? For gardeners of course this question is ridiculous, but from a purely artistic question- an expressionist/colorist question it begged to be asked.  
The fourth color sketch chose another area under the delicate limbs of yet another weeping cherry tree in their yard. Yes, their landscape has some wonderful shapes and textures in there! 
 
Finally, the first sketch was chosen and the next part of the work continues- onto the large canvas itself!  I always tell my collectors, the longest part of the time takes place in the planning.  Once everything is in place and the actual commissioned work begins, things come together rather quickly. Then it's time for a viewing! The final bill is due when the work is finished, prior to delivery. For local collectors, I can come and hang the painting for you. It's a special privilege for me to take part in these "collaborative commissions".  It brings me great joy to help collectors celebrate and commemorate a special time in their lives! 
 
 For the collector in our story above, there will always be a colorful reminder of the beauty that exists under all the snow during winter; a celebration of all her hard gardening work the rest of the year; and a joy to share with family and friends.   I am extremely grateful to be a part of that shared happiness!! 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments:

Blogger Julie Ford Oliver said...

I enjoyed reading your business process. Lucky client.
The painting fulfills its purpose and adds a wonderful pop to the beautiful room it is in.
Congratulations, Roxanne.

August 29, 2015 at 10:14 PM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thanks so much Julie! This was certainly a great pleasure!!

August 30, 2015 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Fiona Ferris said...

I loved reading this post Roxanne, it is so interesting to see 'behind the scenes' of a commission. It's a lot of work! Fun work I'm sure too though. The finished result is absolutely gorgeous.

September 7, 2015 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thank you Fiona! Yes, there are a lot of steps to the process - but it's so satisfying - a real thrill to be able to do this for some one!!

September 7, 2015 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Diane L Hoeptner said...

I too enjoyed reading what goes into a project like this!! Beautiful job, well done!

September 24, 2015 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thanks so much Diane!! It was so much fun being able to do this! Makes me feel truly blessed to be able to do this kind of thing for someone!!

September 24, 2015 at 11:37 AM  

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