Almost two months ago, I started a painting commission and I wanted to share the process with you. After getting approval on the basic composition from some simple sketches, I worked up two small studies with very different color directions.
The client picked the orange study but he wanted more orange, less red on the bottom, wasn’t fond of some of the black, and eliminated any ink “doodles”. Armed with a better idea of my client’s taste, I began work on a larger canvas. Here are several stages the painting went through along the way, incorporating the changes and preferences of the client’s each time. As my process incorporates many layers of paint and hand-printed collage paper, adding more layers only enhanced the final painting by adding depth, texture, and complexity.
Though the final painting loosely resembles the original study, it took on a life of its own through the collaborative process to its finish. It was really fun to work together to create a painting we are both happy with.
Avalanche, mixed media, 36″ x 36″
How does an artist go about painting a commissioned painting? Every artist is different but I’d like to share how I go about it. I recently got a commission from a collector of mine and I thought I would share the process with you over several blog posts.
To start, I needed an idea of which type of painting style of mine he liked best, the painting size he had in mind, and the color palette he envisioned. He also sent me photographs of the other artworks in his home that would be within sight of the painting I was creating.
I started by sketching out some rough compositional ideas in small thumbnails (3″ x 3″). Next, I picked my favorite composition and transferred the same sketch onto a couple sheets of Bristol board. Then I painted two small studies with different color palettes based on the colors the collector was interested in. You can see how I went dark and dramatic in one painting, and hot and bright in the other. These are very small studies (6″ x 6″) and they are just to get some early feedback on preferences, likes and dislikes before moving forward onto the next phase. Then I emailed the sketches to the client who gave me some valuable input to move forward with. Check back and you’ll see which sketch he liked best when I post the next phase.