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Tips for Commissioning Art

Being given the opportunity to have you portrait painted as a gift can feel like an amazing honour. It doesn't have to be the only way though - you don't have to wait to be asked to be painted.

It is very easy to commision a piece of art or portrait of a loved one or someone in particular. It can be a wonderful process that brings you closer to the person but helps you leave a lasting legacy that can be handed down. Ask yourself - will your phone snapped selfie survive the test of time? It's doubtful as virus and hard drive crashed regularly wipe saved data. A good portrait will endure the test of time and be around much longer that your facebook or instagram feed.


1 - Likeness, Personality & Style

All artists work differently, They may use different mediums but you need to be clear on what you actually want. Do you want photo realism, or prefer a bit more artistic licence.


I typically sit down with my clients and discuss the style or portrait they are looking for and get a clear understanding of the brief. I think its always good when clients come with picture or snippets they have that they are impressed with.


However, if it isn't something that I am not comfortable with or adept at (e.g.pet portraits) then I will introduce them to someone I believe can fulfil their requirements better than myself.


2 - Think about the setting

It's good if you have a clear understanding of where the painting is going to be hung, the decor it needs to fit in with. Also you need to consider if there is anything you would like including within the painting i.e. something that has special meaning to you needs or your sitter. Do you have particular clothes you want to be painted in.

3 - Preparation

Some artists work solely from photos but a large proportion want to meet and have time with you for several sittings. Artists are skilled at capturing personality and likeness but this is difficult from a single photo alone.

Could you provide the artist with a sample of good quality photos to work from or can you commit to sit for the artist over the following weeks? Will it be OK for the artist to take their own photos?


4 - Documenting the Process

Keeping copies of your correspondence with the artist adds to the provenance of the portrait for the future. You could be able to purchase the sketches and preliminary artwork from the artist which was done for the commission. Some customers pull this all together into a small booklet that they keep with the painting.


5 - Displaying your Portrait

A portrait is an investment. Chat to a gallery or the artist and about how to display your masterpiece to make viewing it enjoyable but also increase longevity.

They can advise on framing, lighting, general care or the artwork.

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