I think one thing that surprises many people who approach me about a commission is how interesting, creative and fun the process is - for both of us! We truly are working together to make a piece that we both feel really happy with. There is a give and take - I am striving to make something my client loves and they are sometimes taking a leap of faith and trusting in my style and experience. The process is really special! I always want people to be truly happy with the art we make together. If you are interested in a commission, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a general breakdown of the commission steps. I will go into more specifics for certain commissions I do often (like house portraits) in separate sections below.
I send you an email either agreeing to take on the project or not. This email will include a timeline for when I can begin your project, some options for sizing and pricing, questions about aspects of the project, and so on!
You agree to a size and price, and send me any further reference photos I might need to begin a line drawing.
I create a line drawing either digitally or on paper and send it to you for approval. My fee includes up to two rounds of edits to this line drawing before I begin painting. Additional edits after 2 rounds are $50 each.
Once you have approved the line drawing, you would send the full payment before I begin painting. Options for payment include email money transfer, etsy listing (includes paypal and credit card), and cash if you live locally.
I begin painting! I try to send updates where I can. When I am “almost done” (read as: I think it’s done, but you might have some changes in mind) I send either a photo or a scan of the work so far for approval. I try to accommodate changes as much as I am able at this stage, but sometimes changes are just not possible (for instance, watercolour is permanent on the paper and I cannot remove or change items once they are painted in watercolour, although I can darken areas or add details. Oil paint is a bit more forgiving.)
Once you approve the painting, I ship it! Original works are shipped with insurance and tracking and can be somewhat expensive to ship, but it’s obviously imperative that they arrive safely and in good shape!
For any works under 11 x 14 in size I am able to provide a free scan of your work for you to make prints from or just to save in case something happens to the original. I am also happy to have archival prints made for you for a fee.
COPYRIGHTS AND REPRODUCTIONS
Although I am fine with you sharing my work on social media or making prints for family and friends, I retain the copyright on all of my works, including commissions, so any reproductions/publishing cannot be sold without my permission.
Pet portraits in oil paint are beautiful and lasting way to immortalize your pet forever. Oil paint is a classic and long lasting medium, which takes time to dry between layers of painting, time to dry before shipping, and costs extra to ship due to careful packaging, shipping insurance, and tracking.
Pet Portrait Reference Photos
To get the process started, you need a high quality reference photo of your pet. Here are some guidelines on what makes a good reference photo:
High Resolution, not grainy, not pixelated, no sun spots or light flares
The photo should feature your pet in a position and facial expression that looks like them
Lighting should be bright natural light, but not direct sunlight (for instance, in the shade or beside a bright window). No flash please!
Ideally the photograph should show mainly the animal’s upper body and face. In order to make the painting come to life, the reference photo should have a good amount of available detail in the eyes (like highlights and eye colours should be clear and visible). It is also good to be able to see as much detail as possible in the fur (Especially tricky when photographing black animals!).
Pet Portrait Canvas Sizing Recommendations & Pricing
For these recommendations, it is assumed that I am painting the head and chest of a single animal, or the entire body of a small animal against a fairly plain background. Additional animals/details in the frame would be a higher cost. All pricing is for work that is unframed. Please contact me for a free quote or if you have any questions!
8 x 10, Oil on Panel
Recommended for cats, birds, the head and chest of small dogs, and other small animals.
11 x 14, Oil on Panel
Recommended for a medium sized dog, or would show more of the body of a small dog or cat.
16 x 20, Oil on Canvas
Recommended for a larger dog or similar sized animal
24 x 36 or larger, Oil on Canvas
Recommended for multiple animals, the full body of a small dog or a cat, the head of a horse, very large dogs, etc. Pricing will very much depend on subject matter and how complicated and detailed the piece will be.
The Pros and Cons of Oil Paintings
Oil paintings are a slow process. Between every session of working, I am waiting for the most recent layer to dry for 3-7 days. After the painting is finished, it should sit and dry for as long as possible (to be safe, at least a month) before shipping. Also before shipping, I would lightly coat the painting with a removable temporary varnish to protect the painting from dirt and dust. After the painting has cured for 6 months it should be taken to a framer or other professional who can remove the temporary varnish and apply a permanent varnish. (If you live locally, I am happy to do this step for free if you drop off the painting and pick it up again a week later). For these reasons, painting an oil painting is a process that can’t really be rushed and I strongly advise that if it is a gift, you begin the process well in advance of the due date.
I do many house or architectural portraits every year. My style is intentionally a bit messy, I like to have the lawn and edges sometimes splurting or dripping or fading away into the paper or edges. The goal is not to have a photographic recreation of your house, but a loving and enthusiastic representation of the spirit of your home. Here are some guidelines and tips for getting the best results, as well as sizing, pricing and customization options!
Choosing a Reference Photo
Unlike pet portraits, I can make a lot of changes to a house portrait without really sacrificing the “soul” of the home! I would ideally love to have a photo of the house from the exact angle that you want it painted from, but this photo can be from a different season, before an addition or structural changes to some areas, with different foliage, etc. For small changes, the cost is as listed here, but for large changes (for instance if I have to imagine up a deck with fencing and trees that aren’t in the reference photo) the cost will be higher. Through the years I have imagined decks, changed windows, drawn in additions, added bushes and taken away air conditioners, garbage cans, and cars. Once I even guessed all of the colouring of a house from a black and white photo from a newspaper taken in the 70’s!
The Pros and Cons of Watercolour
Watercolour is a beautiful and delicate medium. The paint is applied to gorgeous thick white paper and all of the areas that are to be white are left unpainted, so the paper shows through. Watercolour paints are long lasting and I paint with the professional quality pigments, but for the best colour fastness, each original watercolour should ideally be framed under UV protective glass and not displayed in an area which receives direct sunlight.
Another complication of watercolour is that once I have begun painting, I cannot really remove paint from the paper. So once the painting is shown to the customer near the end, I can darken areas or outline things but I cannot remove them. Sometimes I am able to scrub things out of the paper carefully with my brush to lighten an area, but this must be done very carefully so as not to damage the paper itself. For this reason, it is best if you are very sure of the line drawing before I begin to paint!
House Portrait Sizing Recommendations & Pricing
For these recommendations, it is assumed that I am painting a single family dwelling or storefront on white paper, unframed, from a reference photo which doesn’t require major changes. Please contact me for a free quote or if you have any questions!
8 x 10
Recommended for single storey homes or cottages.
11 x 14
Recommended for two or three storey homes, long bungalows, or single level homes with complex details like Victorian trim, etc.
16 x 20 or larger
Recommended for a larger property with multiple buildings, duplex or triplexes, or very detailed single family homes.
I am open to suggestions for other commissions as well! I paint in oil, watercolour and gouache (and embroidery!) and am building confidence in both landscape and portrait work so I would love a chance to explore those areas further. For a better idea of my work, you can see my portfolio. I would love to hear from you! Once again, my email is email@example.com
“Working with Amanda on our house portrait was pure delight. Her work was prompt, excellent, and beautiful, and our dialogue via pictures and email was a pleasure; the questions she asked demonstrated her desire to make every detail of the portrait align with our vision. She captured the heart and soul of our home with her paintbrush. We will always treasure this keepsake of a beautiful time in our family’s life.” - Catherine Wiebe, 2019