I have been approached to do a commission.  My first commission.
it will be from a photo, a landscape type image.   
We’ve agreed on a size and price, but having not done a commission or worked from a photo I am interested in any advice on how to go about it; what requirements for the photo image, do you show the work in progress?  Do you do much editing?  What do you do if they are not happy with the results, etc.?


  • Get half down.  I wouldn't show it until almost complete.  Others will have different opinion.  A lot of people don't understand the painting process and will be telling you to do this that and the other because you haven't got to it yet.
  • Congratulations! Based on what my wife says when she says my half finished stuff, I definitely wouldn't show before finished haha.

    Are they providing the photo? I would find that quite hard - I like to take a lot of different reference pictures with varying exposures / compositions and so on. I would try and go to the location personally to take some pictures if I were you (and if it's feasible).
  • thanks @oilpainter1950 I’ll plan on completing it before showing.

    @gar3thjon3s they are providing the photo.  I won’t be able to go on site.  I know I will have to crop it and make a few adjustments but it’s got a good resolution.  The only thing is it seems to not have much atmospheric effect.  It’s a Jeep parked off a dirt truck path in a large field with a bright clear blue sky and a single bird gliding above the field.  The Jeep is an older four door red that has a nice sun burnt “patent” from being a California vehicle.  Dry climate no rust.  
  • Well you have to understand who you're dealing with. Are they friendly or not? What is their taste? Based on what sort of work they approached you? You have to make a work on the basis of these factors. If they aren't painters there's no need to show a half done paintings. they won't understand. Sometimes, it is better to just copy the photo onto canvas.
  • edited May 2020
    Unless it was a high resolution photo and unless I really liked it, or at least had the freedom to make something of it that I liked, I would find it hard to do a commissioned landscape. I'd want to do as much editing as needed to make it aesthetically satisfying to me. And I'd probably want to visit the site and take my own photos if what they'd given me was not good. If they wanted an exact copy of a poor photo then I think I'd find it difficult to paint.  Unless I was really hungry. 

    If you need to make changes then maybe explain to them first why the changes to the photo would result in a better painting. 

    But if they were offering a really enticing price and insisted on an exact copy, even though it's an awful photo,  and if I badly needed the money ...    Well, maybe I'd do it anyway.  But I might sign it with something that doesn't look like my usual signature so that I could disown it if there was a possibility of becoming successful as a result of later, really good paintings.   :)

    That probably sounds awful.  ;)
  • @kaustavM @tassieguy the photo seems to be a high enough resolution for an 18” x 9” painting.   They saw other paintings of mine (same ones that I’ve posted here) so they are looking for that kind of realism.  I know that achieving that kind of realism is difficult if not impossible from a photo.  And I would not want the painting to look like a painting of a photo.  
    But I guess that I would just try to paint it with the same fidelity as the photo.

    one thing that I wonder about is I usually wait a few months before varnishing.  And the paintings look sunken because I use burnt umber.  I wouldn’t want to send a painting until it is varnished.  How do you deal with that kind of issue?
  • edited May 2020
    Spray with retouch varnish or oil out and tell them to bring it back to you in six months for a free final varnish. They'll appreciate the ongoing customer care.  :)
  • Retouch varnish and deliver.
  • I told the last person I'll varnish it for them in 6 months. They didn't mind. I used a lot of burnt umber for that last one as well but the ground was very non absorbent so it still looks surprisingly good without varnish.

    You still have to wait for it to be at least hard dry before using any kind of "retouch varnish" which is just any kind of normal varnish diluted with extra solvent.

    You could use gamvar diluted with gamsol after it's hard dry if you really need it varnished soon.
  • Just as happening with me now , a friend of mine asked me to paint a galaxy about two weeks ago i gave him sizes and prices, and im in the process of painting it, i sent him an image of the starting sketch and i said when its finished i will send a pic of final resault and that it will take time because of the nature of painting medium, he said no i prefer to be surprised and see it upon delivary .
    Thankfully i can google search the image and get high resolution pics from nasa .

    I sold total of three paintings before this to a souvenir shop and all three were of my choice of whatever i liked to paint .

    I know its risky to paint a galaxy as a commision because it will always be compaired to a high resolution photos and tons of detail that cant be painted and if not done right it can easly look amature but i am happy with it so far plus anyway i always wanted to paint a galaxy at some point !
    I always ask myself in the process is this a thing that i would like to hang on my walls and is this a thing that i would pay money for .
  • @hasan_bat
    Very cool to paint a galaxy image.  I love space related images.    I’d very much like to see your painting when it’s done.  if you would post it that would be great.
  • @hasan_bat   You said: "I always ask myself in the process is this a thing that I would like to hang on my walls and is this a thing that I would pay money for".   When taking commissions for anything, that's two dangerous questions. But the right questions when choosing what to paint for yourself with the hope of selling it at some point. BTW all those galaxy photos are colorised at the whim of the processor and some are actually radiowaves converted to 2d images.
  • Are you going to post the source photo here? We might be able to help it if needs a few tweaks.
  • @BOB73 those two questions regard the quality and commitment not the subject matter...of course customers have the freedom to choose what they want, speaking of galaxies i have a physics degree  so space topics takes a big part of my intrest :)
Sign In or Register to comment.