Friday, June 26, 2015

The Commission Process Step 1: Shirley and Roger

For a couple years, I did almost nothing but commissions ( and needed a break from them, but this latest one sounded so appealing I had to accept, and I thought it’d be fun to document its progress and process on my blog.  

Shirley is a fellow artist- she does exquisite black and white photography.  I met her and her husband Roger on the art fair circuit a while back, and we had such fun that soon we requested to be neighbors whenever we were at the same fair. They recently relocated and are in the midst of redecorating.  They contacted me to do a piece for their new dining room, and sent me some pics of their space to give me an idea of where it would live.    


I started the discussion that I normally do when beginning a commission to find out what their requirements are: size, color, imagery, and any other “givens.” Then I usually brainstorm with the clients to see if there are any other images or materials that are possibilities- I have used everything from house plans to baby footprints to Indian arrowheads, depending on the client. This part is fun and insures that it is personal to the client.  Roger and Shirley, however, opted not to go that route. Although the color palette is important to her in that it works in the room, she didn't want to restrict me with anything else.  Shirley said she wanted to keep it light and airy with plenty of open space, but “didn’t want to get specific because she wanted to allow my creative juices to flow!!!” WOW. Music to my ears- somebody who gets it!

Next step was a visit to see the space, take some pictures, get swatches of paint and fabric that are in the room, and tie down some details. 

We used a square of brown craft paper on the wall to help us determinate the size.  We looked through my portfolio, and I took note of what pieces they liked and why, and which didn’t appeal to them. This helps me get a better sense of their tastes, within the framework of what I do.  They really like botanicals like grasses, leaves, and ferns, so those more than likely will be incorporated. The colors are set- and they are colors that are part of my recurring palette. If she‘d requested lime green and fluorescent pink- I would have had to take a pass. Since they are so open and this is well within what I normally do, I am going to work on two paintings simultaneously so they have a choice when I am done. A win win.  We both signed a contract that spell out the details, they put 50% down, and I am off and running! 

Stay tuned for the next step of the process!  

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