Art Commission 101

Commissioning artwork is a big deal, for both you as the customer and the artist. You’re likely to have many questions about how to get the ball rolling so here’s an art commission 101.

It’s an exciting time! You’ve decided who you’d like to undertake your art commission. You’ve done your research and have an idea on budget and the subject of your painting.

But what now?

As a Cornish artist who takes art commissions, I’ve usually several questions to ask potential customers. You’re likely to have some of your own too so I’ve put together this guide on commissioning artwork to help clarify and answer these queries.

a set of hog haired paint brushes next to some books

What does the artist need to know?

It’s always helpful to know what you like about my work – what intrigues you and piques your curiosity and interest? Is there a specific piece you like? Just so you know, this isn’t an exercise on massaging the artist’s ego. Instead it’s about connection and exploring what it is about the the artwork that evokes emotion and speaks to you.

With your art commission, I’d love to know if there’s a story behind the place or subject you’re wanting to hang on your wall. Knowing the personal meaning and resonance definitely helps in the painting process.

It’s always useful to have prior knowledge of anything you dislike as well. Are there certain colours or tones you aren’t keen on, for example?

Aside from this, we’d need to discuss essentials, like your available wall space and the size of the painting, if you’d like me to arrange framing (at an extra cost), and whether you’d like the painting on a board or canvas. You may want to have a think about some details, and that’s fine.

Where will your commissioned painting go?

I think it’s useful to know where in your home your art will go, and if possible, to see what it’s like. I know I like to see your colour palettes and have some insight into your personal taste.

Cornish artist Penny Sherwood holding an acrylic painting of Portloe
An art commission, acrylic on canvas board – Jasmine and the Buoys

You can buy a limited edition prints of this commission (above), Jasmine and the Buoys

Will I need to provide photos?

If you have a photo of what you’d like me to paint, then I’d definitely need a copy. However, I have hundreds, probably thousands of photos of Cornwall to use as reference. I can share these with you to hear your thoughts. If I can, I like to visit the location of the painting and take photographs.

You can find out more about how inspirational the Cornish coast is in this blog post.

How specific do I need to be about my commissioned artwork?

When it comes to commissioning a painting, there’s a level of trust between the artist and the customer. If there’s something specific you’d like me to include, whether it’s an object or a certain colour, I need to know this before I start.

How do I pay for a commissioned painting?

Once we’ve reached an agreement and have settled a price, a 50% deposit is required. The remaining 50% is paid upon completion, prior to delivery.

Penny Sherwood, Cornish artist standing in front of a large art commission

How long will commissioned art take?

This very much depends on the size of your painting but please bear in mind that I’m not a full time artist (unfortunately) and work part of the week. We can discuss your timescales and mine, and what’s achievable.

Who owns the copyright to the image or painting?

With all commissions, the copyright belongs to and remains with the artist. This means I can use the image on my website and social media, and I retain the right to reproduce and sell the image in the future.

Can I personalise my commission?

We can talk about personalising your painting if this is something that’s important to you.

Will I receive updates?

Absolutely! There will be plenty of opportunity for you to see your work in progress and to make suggestions. I can send photos of your art commission part way through, near completion and once finished. However, some people prefer to wait until it arrives at their home!

The corner of a canas with blue paint and the signature PEN written on it

Is delivery included in the price?

Shipping costs are included in the pricing of all commissions. You’ll be issued with a tracking number and your art will have to be signed for.

Sometimes, if you live in Cornwall, I may be able to deliver art commissions personally.

What if I change my mind?

When it comes to art commissions, refunds are not available. As the painting has been intentionally requested, all sales are final.

Please click here for my returns policy.

You can find my commissions page here.

You can find my collection of available original painting here, and limited edition giclée prints here.

Author: plbedford

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