Answers to some common questions about commissioning artwork.
Do you offer pet portraits?
I’m sorry but I do not currently offer pet portraits at this time. If you wish, I will happily recommend some of my favorite artists who specialize in pet portraits.
Can you copy another artist’s work?
No. One of the most important things in the relationship between a patron and an artist, is that the patron admires the artist’s work and wants something of their own in that artist’s unique style. Sometimes a patron and artist aren’t the right fit, and that’s alright. But to ask an artist to copy another artist’s work is disrespectful to both. Please don’t ask me to do that.
Can I send you my own photos?
Possibly. There are several factors I take into account when deciding if I’m the right artist to create your masterpiece. In general, I’m looking at the composition, the lighting, the clarity, and whether or not I believe I can deliver a product that you will absolutely love. If I cannot use your photos we will need to schedule a photo session. There is a non-refundable $50 fee, but should you decide to proceed with the painting, your deposit will go toward your purchase.
What if the portrait subject is a surprise or has since passed away?
I will always do my best to work from photos. It would also help for me to see several different photos of the person. The clearer and sharper the photos, the better.
Can you combine different people from different photos?
I would prefer not to but there’s also the possibility it will work. I can also recommend artists who are comfortable doing that, but as my training is mostly working from life, I’ve always found it awkward trying to cobble together different figures from photos that I haven’t taken myself.
Why do oil paintings take so much longer?
Unlike other types of paint that dry when the water in them evaporates, the oil in oil paints actually oxidizes to leave a durable, richly colored paint film that’s firmly adhered to the canvas. This process can take a week or two to simply dry to the touch. Oil paintings typically need six months or more to dry thoroughly. Once a painting is dry enough, I apply a museum-quality varnish that protects the artwork but still allows the paint layers to continue drying. This may seem tedious, but it is this quality of oil paint that allows beloved artworks to survive and be enjoyed for generations.
You work in watercolor, charcoal, and oil. Why do you offer people portraits in charcoal and oil, but not watercolor? Why do you only offer home portraits in watercolor?
This is a personal preference. Part of my being able to successfully complete your commission is working in a medium that I enjoy using for a specific purpose. I have always loved using charcoal and oil when painting people, but I do not enjoy painting buildings or botanicals with them. And I’ve always loved the look of watercolor home portraits and botanicals, but have never enjoyed painting people’s portraits in watercolor.
Why do watercolor paintings cost the same as oil paintings?
This has mostly to do with outdated public perceptions. For hundreds of years, watercolors were only used for studies or learning, so the general public regarded them as not being worth as much. Only in recent years have artists elevated them into an art form that rivals oils in quality. It takes the same amount of time for me to create detailed, realistic watercolor paintings as it does in oil. I always use the highest quality paints available. The pigments in both oil and watercolor paints are the same, but the binder that creates the painterly consistency is different. They are all archival, so like anything properly cared for, your artwork will last for generations.
Do you offer other sizes?
I have tried to simplify my commission offerings in order to streamline my process and be able to deliver works to patrons as quickly as possible. The sizes I work in are standard, making it easier for customers to find suitable framing. I do offer larger sizes for oil paintings, which are ideal for full figure portraiture, or paintings with more than one person. Contact me if you are interested.
Can I see how my painting looks while it’s in progress?
Absolutely! I will keep you updated on a regular basis. These progress updates are the perfect time for you to offer feedback and constructive criticism. The better we can communicate with one another, the happier we’ll both be with your finished painting. Just remember, the early stages of most paintings can look very scary and unsettling if you’re not used to commissioning artwork. This is where I ask you to trust me and remember that you’ve seen my portfolio of finished works. They all start off the same way!
What is included in my purchase?
All charcoal and watercolor artworks are delivered wrapped in archival tissue paper and placed inside a beautiful presentation folder, ready for you to frame. I also include a certificate of authenticity and instructions for how to care for your painting. I do not offer framing as patrons have different needs for their homes or offices. State taxes, shipping, framing, installation, and any fees related to my having to travel for a commission are the responsibility of the patron.
How do you justify your prices?
If you've bought art, you may have noticed a wide range of pricing, even for artworks that look similar. In the art world, there is little reliable structure in pricing from one artist to another - it's not like comparing contractors for renovating your home! Some artists have full-time jobs, and then pursue art in their free time, so they aren't dependent on that income; others paint full-time, so that work is 100% responsible for paying for bills, a mortgage, food, health insurance, etc. Some artists use the least expensive art supplies they can get a hold of; other artists use professional quality materials that cost several times as much as the "cheap stuff." Some artists are self-taught; some attended universities or ateliers which can be costly as well. I am a mixture of all of these. My time is split between teaching, raising my family, and painting. I use only the highest grade professional materials; they are meant to last for generations. I attended university but learned the most on my own, and I continue to learn from modern-day masters to hone my craft. Like anyone you know who's worked hard at their profession, I take pride in my accomplishments. Some people will balk at my prices while others will tell me I'm still priced too low. So the answer to this question is that I have priced my original works and commissions in such a way that I can afford to use the best available materials to deliver the best work I am capable of creating. This allows me to pay the bills, take care of my family, and paint every day. I combine the best materials available with my decades of training to create artworks that hopefully bring joy and beauty to not only me, but my patrons.
Is there a contract?
Yes. Every patron must sign a contract prior to any work beginning. This helps protect both the patron and the artist, and lays out a clear plan for the execution of the artwork.
Do you offer payment plans?
Yes! In general, patrons who choose a payment plan take no more than six months to pay. Contact me to discuss your options.
Do you take a deposit?
I do not take deposits. I invest a great deal of time and materials in order to complete each commission. I also work hard to communicate with you regularly and show you how your commission is progressing so we can make adjustments based on your feedback.
Do you have a return or cancellation policy?
If for any reason you absolutely do not wish to keep your finished painting, you may request a refund of 50% within 7 days after receiving it. You will be refunded after the painting is returned to me. I reserve the right to attempt to sell the abandoned painting. If you have already paid in full but wish to cancel before the agreed upon start date, you may request a refund of 50% up to 3 days before your start date.
When do you start work on my commission?
Patrons are required to pay for their commission in full. This locks in the start date. If you are using a payment plan, your start date will be booked when you make your last payment. I will also give you an estimate of what day your artwork will be completed.
I reserve the right to use any and all paintings completed by me in my advertising materials, social media posts, and website. A patron may request that I not share progress photos for surprise commissions; however, I will still take progress photos and post them after the work has been presented. All artwork and content on my website is legally protected by U.S. & International copyright laws. Under no circumstance is it permitted for a person to use them for commercial purposes, without proper and prior permission from me. Unauthorized duplication or usage for commercial purposes is prohibited by the Copyright law and will be prosecuted. I retain all of the copyrights to all artwork on my site and social media, regardless of having sold the original image. You must contact me in order to use an image for commercial purposes, whether or not you now own the original artwork. Thank you.
I reserve the right to refuse a commission if, for any reason, I do not believe I can in good faith create a painting in which the potential patron would be completely satisfied.