Tag Archives: custom painting

Commissioned Paintings for Holiday Gifts

Every holiday season I get a lot of requests for commissions, so this year we decided to cap the number of paintings to only 10.  Somehow that list filled up quickly, and as I finished them one by one, more orders came in.  In total I ended up painting 25 commissioned paintings.  Each one was approved and accepted by the patron (sometimes after minor changes), and arrived in time for the holidays.  We mailed paintings to many places around the country like Texas, Virginia, Oregon, and a couple were even mailed to Belgium.  They were commissioned as gifts for spouses, co-workers, significant others, parents, and close friends.  Each painting had a special story behind it, and I loved being in on the surprise.  My favorite painting was the portrait my brother commissioned of his wife.  I suggested a parody of the Mona Lisa with personal touches that symbolized important parts of my sister-in-law’s life.  Her reaction was priceless, and we got it on video (see below).  We take a picture of every painting that leaves the studio, so here is a slideshow of the paintings I made this holiday season (click on the pictures to view a slideshow).  They are all oil paint on wood panel, framed in a natural ash wood frame.  If you’d like to commission one, just let me know.

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The Personal Nature of a Commissioned Painting

~ by Maria Benner

One of the most unique, personal and unexpected gifts is a commissioned oil painting.  So we get to learn a lot of personal information about complete strangers, such as their hobbies, their past travels, their pets, family, etc.  Most commissions are ordered online from far away places, so we rarely get to meet the customer, or the person/people that the paintings are for, but we end up knowing a lot about them.  People send us photos of their babies, dogs, and other things that they love.  Sometimes we end up exchanging over 20 e-mails back and forth, talking about their lives, and how to incorporate the most important things tastefully into one painting.  The best part is being in on the secret.  One customer was working out the details for a painting for her father who owns a store in Anchorage.  Scott had to coordinate with her a time when her dad wouldn’t be there so he could stop by and take photos of the store front.  She had to be sneaky, because she couldn’t just ask her dad when he would be gone from the store, without raising suspicions.  And when someone orders a custom beer painting, the customers have to scheme to find out what the gift recipients’ favorite beer is, and we give them suggestions for what questions to ask.  We love being in on these secrets, and learning about people’s lives, because that is such a personal part of our business.  Making that connection with customers makes the paintings that much more special.

Give the Experience of Commissioning a Painting

We prefer to spend money on experiences, rather than on stuff: travel, concerts, ski lift tickets, etc.  I never thought that commissioning a painting could be an interesting and fulfilling experience, until I watched clients meet with Scott throughout the month to commission paintings as gifts for very special people in their lives.  Not only are you paying for an experience, you also get a custom oil painting in the end!  One person said her dad is really hard to find gifts for, but a painting of his wedding day was going to be a surprise, and a meaningful gift that he’ll treasure for a long time, and something that will be in the family for generations.  She photographed pictures at her dad’s house, and contacted family members to ask for certain photos.  Then she met with Scott at our studio, and told him the stories about her parents, and together they created a sketch for the painting.  When she saw the painting, her reaction was priceless!  Seeing all the details in one painting that was created just for her dad, stirred up some emotions.  Another person said she has never been able to surprise her husband with a gift, because he’s just really good at guessing what she bought him.  But, she said, this year he’ll never guess that she commissioned a painting of the view from their cabin.  Scott delivered the painting to the couple’s home last weekend, and his reaction was priceless.  He couldn’t believe the painting was of a view he knew so well.

One has to plan ahead for such a gift.  Photos must be gathered, and a lot of thought has to go into creating a quality piece.  So it’s too late to commission a piece for Christmas this year, however, you can GIVE someone the experience of commissioning a painting for themselves of their pet, cabin, car, bike, skis, favorite place, etc.  The person will visit our studio and talk to Scott about the concept, and in many cases, Scott can create a sketch on the spot.  Then Scott will send a photo of the complete painting, and once it’s dry, the painting can be picked up at the studio.  People who don’t live locally can also commission a painting by communicating and sending photos via e-mail.  Scott sends them a couple sketches with different options, and then we mail the completed piece.  Every painting is framed in a natural wood frame, and the hanging hardware is installed.  The way to give someone this experience is to purchase a gift certificate online at our Etsy shop.  Not bad for a last-minute gift idea!

Commissioned painting of view from cabin

View from the Cabin. Commissioned for Jim Lamb by Lisa. 1 ft x 2 ft, oil on panel.

PFD Sale on Custom Oil Paintings!

Skiing in Alaska painting

Everyone is having a PFD sale this time of year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Alaska Airlines will offer for fares to Hawaii.  So I decided to have my own PFD sale!  I’m offering a 10% discount on custom oil paintings.  The offer expires on October 21st.  So look through your photos from your summer adventures, and send me the one that you’d like me to turn into an oil painting.  Think of where you’ll hang it, and that will help you decide on the size.  My prices start at $150, which includes a frame with hanging hardware installed.  You can contact me via e-mail at info@realartisbetter.com.  I’ll post some of my favorite paintings from this promotion on Facebook and Instagram.  Keep your PFD dollars in Alaska by spending on local goods and services!

Thinking of painting trees as the season changes.

Fall is in the air, and some parts of Alaska are already covered with the first dusting of snow, and leaves are turning different shades of yellow and red.  This is my favorite time of year to take photos of trees, so I can paint them later in my studio.  We’re going to McCarthy for one last time this summer, and I plan on going for walks around the Boreal forest, collecting painting inspiration for the winter months.

Here’s a gallery of some of my tree paintings.  Most of the originals sold, but prints are available at my Etsy shop.  If there is an image that you’d rather have as an original, not a print, let me know what size you’d like, and I’ll paint a very similar version for you.