Frequently I’m asked if I can do a painting of a particular subject or scene –the answer to which is a 99.9%, yes! And really, that’s how it should be after painting professionally for 40 years!
Generally, the request follows on from a painting seen in a gallery, restaurant, golf club, hotel or in a friend’s home that generates some special connection by way of subject-like stampeding horses, a dusty cattle drive, cowboys galloping flat out with guns ablaze ,a serene afternoon beach scene with casual wanderers or maybe a romantic type painting of girls simply picking flowers.
I have had some good challenges over the years but can proudly say that I have met every commission with success and departed with new friends at the same time.
How does it work?
Simple, just contact me with what you have in mind and if possible a picture the painting(s) that prompted you to contact me. Tell me also the size you have in mind. This tells me very quickly ‘what and where’ you are thinking.
Next, if you want certain elements changed or swapped out for others let me know roughly at this stage so I can mentally construct the painting and respond with thought and meaning. If this involves new material that I need to gather, on your behalf, there may be additional cost. If you have your own material that I can fit into the painting relatively smoothly there will be a minimal to no extra cost. This ‘personal connection’ part of the commission is what makes this painting yours and uniquely special. So I need to dig into your head and try to get a grip on what you really have in mind. This is where we work together- both before, during, and to some extent after the painting is done. It needs to be ‘right’ from the artistic engineering perspective as well as satisfying your vision of how the painting should look. It is this part that becomes the ‘challenge’ quotient part of the commission that translates into how long it will take to paint and any effect on the price. There is always some ‘loading’ above the standard for a commission painting.
If and where possible I prefer to paint with the client commissioning me at hand. I can paint almost anywhere. I don’t need a fancy studio-just a few supplies from the local hardware shop, my bag a paints etc and a space about the size of a garage. And a place to live for the duration-hotel, apartment etc.
Once we have been over this territory and are aligned we can talk price. Obviously, the outline above relates to a good size painting-around 6 x 4 foot and larger- sizes within which I excel. The bigger the better for me!
If the commission is smaller than this, and we agree it is not necessary for me to be ‘on site’ with you- given a good alignment of our thinking- I would advance the project with sketches first, followed by progress shots of the painting with agreement on the way to the end. Again its critical though that the’ personal connection’ part of the commission is clear, understood and agreed to, to avoid careering off the road! This is the part of the commission where there is, if any, extra ‘loading’ in the price so our alignment needs to be 100%!
Framing can be dealt with later but I can suggest and offer prices for you. This is an additional cost but a cost that is a trade price.
Where possible the commission will be filmed as a time lapse from start to finish and a copy or copies given to the owner as well as a valuation of the painting for insurance and other reasons.
So there you are-not hard! Bounce your commission off me and lets’ see where we land!
With Mike McLain in Texas
With Doug Madden in Texas