On the outside Jackie, my neighbour, is outgoing and friendly. She is like any homeowner who just wanted to make her home a haven to live in, a beautiful place to come back to, after a days work. As they were redecorating the lounge she was looking for a really long piece, that would serve as a focal point just above her fireplace.
The lounge/dining area was the space for time together as a family, so it was only right that it should be a special. She had already chosen her colours and narrowed down the curtains and colour scheme for the room.
She hadn’t found something that she really liked yet. Around the same time she saw a painting she really loved, with pink flowers and bumblebees that I had posted on Facebook. In her own words,
“It wasn’t a case of needing it, I just happened to see your beautiful painting and instantly in my mind’s eye, pictured having a great big one over my fireplace.”
So we got talking and thrashing out ideas. She knew for certain that she wanted one long piece instead of a triptych i.e. three pieces next to each other. She also knew that she wanted a watercolour on our wooden panel so that it would look more like a canvas with gorgeous wood showing on the side.
This presented a challenge, because none of the art stores in the UK stocked the size of paper that she needed, which was 5 ft X1 ft. This resulted in me scouring the Internet to find people who would make custom wooden panels for artists. After phoning a number of people, I finally chose a great carpenter from Suffolk, as it appeared that he’d been making such panels regularly for artists.
To add to this, Jackie’s husband, Jon was completely unaware of all this, as she wanted it to be a surprise for him. No pressure then! Especially with this being my first commission!
Jackie was someone who knew exactly what she wanted, so my job was quite straightforward. I painted a couple of small mock up pieces which were to scale. As soon as she chose which mock-up painting resembled what she wanted, it gave me as an artist, a mental picture of what I needed to paint too.
Being a big painting, also meant that the price was going to be proportionately large, which is a challenge for any ordinary person!
"When you offered to split the payments, that was great"- Jackie
For me as an artist, this was a great learning point. While I value being paid for all the hard work I put in, it helped me appreciate that splitting payments into instalments helped my collectors immensely. As a result, I now offer instalments for everyone who commissions, unless it’s a very small piece of art.
DESIGN, DECIDED, PANEL ORDERED, BEGINNING WORK!
The only other thing left to do was to order an entire roll of watercolour paper, as a full sheet of professional paper was well short of 5 feet. I’m still going through that roll, as I write this blog.
Oh, and one other thing, I had to go to a local hardware shop to cut a long piece of MDF to function as my board on which I did the watercolour paper as it was being painted. But it was all worth it when the end result was considered - a custom commissioned, painting for a wonderful collector.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Keeping her informed and fully involved was something that made Jackie’s experience all the more better as she could see the piece evolving from a blank sheet to a completed painting.
She got to see progress shots and was able to give feedback at every stage of the painting, so that there were no surprises at the end.
WILL HE OR WON’T HE?
The length of the painting also meant that I had to buy new tools to make sure that the finished painting adhered well to the wooden panel. After being prepared and waxed, the painting was ready for its final reveal.
Would Jackie’s husband, Jon, like it? After all thiis hard work and effort, it was so important that he was happy to have it in his lounge.
Happily, Jon did love it and it hangs probably on the wall until today! Phew!
“If you commission of painting, and you like that artist’s work, then you can get the colour and design to suit where you live, and to your taste”- Jackie
Jackie has gone on to commission more pieces to suit the ambience of her lounge. She had three other pieces which were based on the same painting, set opposite her dining table. She said once, how she would sit at the table with a cup of tea and just look at the paintings, the details and the brushstrokes. Knowing that this was created just for her and her family makes such a difference to that appreciation.
She then went on to purchase three more mini paintings, which also hang in her lounge and have transformed the place into a mini garden on the inside. Having unique one-of-a-kind paintings in her room has definitely changed it into a paradise for sure.
“Adding a commission piece to your home makes sure that you get what you had an idea for. I had a thought and you put it to task. If you’ve got an idea of what you want, and your artist take that on board and delivers it, then happy days.” - Jackie
This is her advice to anyone who is thinking of commissioning a bespoke piece of art.
Jackie’s experience can be yours too! Original art has never been so accessible ever! Would you like to have a bespoke piece of art to enjoy in your home for decades? Whether you have a clear idea or not, bringing joy and peace to your home through original, unique art that YOU WANT, is my highest priority.
Let’s talk about what I can do for you and your home!
If you’d like to learn more about commissioning before contacting me, please do visit the Commissions page.