Commissioned Painting: A to Z

It all begins with a great idea. How can I bless my kids and leave them with something to remember their upbringing when they are older? For one family, that idea developed into commissioning three paintings of their land and home so that eventually these paintings would be given to each of the three adult kids of this family. Great idea. Enjoy some beautiful paintings and then pass along the joy to your children! 

So over the course of ten months, I began developing three paintings that captured a sense of the family's home and land. 

I begin the process by first working with the client to see where a painting will hang in their home in order to determine the size that the painting needs to be to bring the most impact. We discuss favorite memories of their home, favorite views and I try to get a really good idea about what is most desired to be communicated through a painting. Working with clients to develop a painting is one of the really enjoyable aspects of what I get to do as an artist. Although this is a business, its also my life. And relationships are what is most important in life. And in order to truly captivate the attention of a client with a work of art, I want to know as much as I can why they desire a work of art and what will speak to them most. 

After walking around the property exploring different options, we narrow it down to one particular view. But lighting is everything in my world. So, I schedule a time to return and take photographs as just the right time. 

A week later, I return early in the morning. I want to be there before the first light hits the top of the trees. 

After settling in and finding just the right angle, its time to wait. The scene is rather dull before the light hits. We needed it to be in late fall so that enough foliage had fallen off the trees to allow me to see the house through the trees. The whole time, I am taking many photos to compare how the light is changing. 

Then the magic starts. Those first rays of light come breaking through in color filled warmth. Got it!


An hour after arriving and after taking multiple shots and getting close up shots of the house for details, I feel I have what I need to return to the studio. 

After hours of sorting through photos and selecting the ones that capture the light and angle just right, its time to draw the watercolor preliminary sketch. This the fun opportunity to get out the pencil and enjoy time at the drafting table. 

A day later, the preliminary sketch is done and sent to the client for approval. And they love it! So it's off to the canvas now! Having a solid idea of what the final painting will look like because of the sketch, its nice to jump right into the painting. And I have deadline of Christmas to get it done. Only two or three weeks to complete the painting.

Twenty pots of coffee and many 1am painting hours later, it's ready for framing and delivery!

The best part is that reaction of amazement and delight when I unveil the painting just in time for Christmas.