I have just recently been working on my first large commission painting. It is stressful to do something that someone else wants, but in this case it has been a very good experience. Unknown to me, my client has been collecting note cards of my paintings for many years and sharing them with her son. She called me and said she wanted to come to my home and discuss painting a large painting for her. She and her son did come and fell in love with a pastel painting I had done many years ago and she really wanted a larger oil painting of it. She said she had been saving a wall in her home for this painting of mine.
So after choosing a size, 30" x 40", which is pretty big for me, I gave her a price. Next, and most importantly, I researched commission contracts. I had a friend work for weeks on a beautiful painting for a client, making many, many changes to satisfy the client. In the end the client came to see the painting, stood there and declared: “You know, I think I will just paint it myself.” And she left without paying anything. I learned my lesson from her story.
So in researching for Commission Contracts, I found many on the internet and took what I needed from them and made up one of my own. The client is required to pay 1/3 up front, 1/3 half way through and the final payment at the end plus sales tax. Don’t forget the sales tax, otherwise YOU will pay that! I printed two copies and we both signed them so everything she wanted is up front in writing!! I made it clear the copyright to the image is mine as I would like to make prints later. Also it was decided that she would be having the painting framed, and there are other clauses to clarify exactly what is expected on both of our parts.
If anyone would like a copy of my contract I would be glad to send it via email. Rrowings@earthlink.net
To keep my client interested in the progress of the painting, I have been posting photos on my blog. She has been emailing me letting me know how pleased she is, which is so nice to hear. I asked her if she would like to see the painting when it was about half done and she came by. She kept hugging me and said she was so happy. Then we both agreed on some changes. She grew up on a farm and her barn was red, but the barn I painted was white. So I made that change and we made more, which was to my liking as well. At that time she made her second payment.
So this is where I am so far on this commission painting. I plan to work on it more this week and will be posting more photos on my blog as I can. One thing I did find is that translating a smaller pastel into a large oil painting is not the same. For example, in the pastel I had a pink sky, but in the larger painting pink was overwhelming. So that is one thing we both decided to change. I will work on that this week. You can see my progress at: www.RhettsArtStudio.blogspot.com
Be sure and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see how I have been working from small studies in B/W and an 8x10 study, preparing the canvas, etc. Then come back later when I have finished the painting.
She will have to live with this painting for a long time, so I feel she needs to be very happy with it. Commissions are really a joint effort and all parties need to be happy. I hope my experience has helped you decide if you would like to take on a commission. I have been very lucky with this one, and hope to do more in the future.