If you have space on a blank wall, or need a special gift for someone, you can either shop around for a perfect piece of art, or you can commission an artist to make a unique and custom work of art just for you. Normally, this doesn’t cost more than buying a painting that is already completed.
Here is some advice about how to go about this to get the best results.
DO contact an artist whose work is a good match for the work of art you have in mind. DO NOT expect an artist whose work is mostly abstract to paint a photographic portrait.
DO give the artist sufficient reference material if you want a painting of something specific like a cabin, or your dog. An artist’s job is much easier, and you’ll see better results when s/he has several photos of the subject matter that show the necessary details. Ideally the artist should see the subject matter in person. One patron actually flew me out to his remote cabin so I could see it for my self and gather my own reference material!
DO give the artist plenty of time to finish the piece, but not too much time. One time a patron commissioned three large, framed oil paintings from me three weeks before he needed them. Considering that oil paint takes two weeks to dry, I only had one week to complete the project. Needless to say, I probably could have done a better job if I had more time. On the other hand, if you give the artist too much time, say several months, your project may fall through the cracks, unless you keep reminding the artist.
DO pay the artist, or agree on a payment plan in advance. Many things can happen, and time is valuable, so not knowing whether payment will ever be received for a custom painting that takes a lot of work to complete is a bit unsettling for the artist. Believe it, or not, a painting of your dog is not marketable to the public.
DO ask the artist for a Bill of Sale which states who owns the copyright and reproduction rights (normally the artist, unless agreed upon otherwise), the title, date, size, medium, cost, and the artist’s and your signatures.
Here are three of my recent commissioned paintings.