To commission an artwork means you ask an artist to create a special piece just for you.
This special piece can be made to your specific size and content.
The Gallery handles the commission and liaison with the artist on your behalf- they have the expertise and know the artist well in order to convey the ideas clearly along with what the client likes and doesn't like.
The process differs each time depending on the type and difficulty of the work, the artist and his/her process.
When commissioning an artwork, It is best to choose an artist whose broader collection you admire and like, that way you will be familiar with their style to be sure its right for you. The next step is to speak with your galley about the artist and their process.
This commission will see us follow Margaret River Gallery artist Peter Barker through a commission piece of a young man- Finn.
Finn' mum Marion, had been looking for a specific artwork for her home for a while.
One day she spied these beautiful pieces by Peter Barker whilst visiting the Margaret River Gallery.
We asked Peter to do a commission and he said yes, no problem!
(some artists are very comfortable with commissioning a work and some are not;
Each artist has their own process.)
Here is the step by step procedure as we follow Peter through commissioning a painting of Finn.
The Gallery speaks in length with the client to determine what they are looking for in commissioning a piece. Usually the client is very familiar with the artists' work and knows pretty well what they want.
In this case our client wanted a portrait of her son Finn. The size and price is then set once the details (such as size , colour and mood the client is after) are determined.
The artist will of course create in their style and the client must be prepared for the artist's own artistic license to take part. This is why it is important to know and like most of an artists work if you wish to commission a piece from them.
Peter comes down to visit us in Margaret River and to meet the subject -Finn!
Peter spends half an hour photographing Finn and one hour sketching him.
Peter likes to visit a clients' house to meet the subject (in this case Finn) and get a feel for his character. As you can see Finn is lovely and felt really comfortable in his own home and it helps that Peter is very lovely too!
Peter took photos to work from and did a sketch whilst there. This took a couple of hours.
for the sketch, Peter had two pieces of different colour paper for the sketch- this sets the tone for the work. Peter chose the tone upon meeting Finn and being in the clients home.
(note- This is Peter's process and not all artists need to do this.)
Peter chose the darker colour paper to capture Finn.
The sketch caught a likeness but mostly Peter is getting a feeling of Finns character- this is hard to capture in a blog!
Peter likes to visit the clients home- especially when painting children -as he can get to know the subject which results in his painting a likeness that also hints at the character of the subject, a feature of any successful portrait.
As you can see in the other paintings of Peter's ( see above ) some have bluebirds and others, an ethereal light. All hint at the innocence and beauty of the subjects.
For the artist this is a very thoughtful and felt process.
This is all done through the artists intuitive feel and not through interrogation the client!
The process was relatively painless for Finn!
Sometimes this feel and understanding of the subjects character comes later when Peter is back in the studio painting. Peter has the photographs of his client he can also work from.
Peter goes back to his studio to paint up a sketch (a small oil painting), process his thoughts and plan the final painting.
This process takes about two months.
Peter now has completed three sketches for the client to view for comment. At this point the client has the opportunity for choice and feedback.
It is at this time the client gives feedback to the gallery on what they like and dislike in regard to colour, composition and mood.
In this case Marion has tears of joy! And chooses option #2. She loves the line work and the colour and the front on composition.Finn on the other hand asked if he could have a smile.
Here is Peter's response re smiles in art-
"As for the smile, it's not a good idea and I'll explain so you can pass on my thoughts to the clients".
It's actually quite a common thing for people to ask for a smile. As your probably aware in the history of portraiture it is very rare to have a smile and this is mainly because it doesn't age well.
This might sound funny however while a smile initially will look good. After time this becomes very irritating and tiresome to look at, mainly because smiles are fleeting and it’s not considered a true indication of an individual's personality.
When this painting is passed through generation to generation this becomes exasperated and will look quite tacky. I know Marion wants this painting to be passed along to further generations so I would strongly advise against a smile.
There's actually a heap of literature regarding smiling in portraiture and throughout my studies in Italy I was cautioned regularly. HaHa! "
Peter now goes on a cruise on a ship for a month ( hahaha)
To complete the final work in oils takes about one month.
Drying and varnishing of the work will nequire two months in total.
Over this time payments have been made regularly to the Margaret River Gallery.
A deposit is required to confirm a commission with an artist so the artist can make a start however payment plans are adaptable through the Margaret River Gallery.
The finished piece is a surprise as Marion has not seen it yet we will show you when she has!
Marion viewed and collected her finished commission today
And she just LOVES it! And so do we !
Thanks Peter Barker
Thanks Marion and thanks Finn.
Please speak to us if you are interested in a commission by any of our artists,. We are very happy to help you toward the acquisition of a special artwork.