Commissions – how do they work?


Commissions are both a blessing and a curse. As an artist, it forces me out of my comfort zone, to inhabit the emotional and visual lens of my viewer. This jots my creative juices, forcing me to really delve into the inspirational scraps that my clients have provided.

It’s a bit like building a case – lots of research, then trial and error to achieve – always surprisingly and unexpectedly – beautiful results.

…it’s also challenging because you never know how much time you may end up committing to a project. I can’t gauge when something feels right; it just does.

This means I could be toiling away at a piece that may eventually end up pleasing – or displeasing – my client. The chance is 50/50.

Rather risky for a project that can take days, if not a week, to complete.


When starting a commission, I generally ask my clients for three things:

  • A desired primary color or colors (represented through photographs or images)
  • A feeling (expressed through a song or story)
  • Where the painting will be hung / located (and pictures of the space)

The colors help me set the tone of the piece – do we want something cool or warm? It segues into the feeling or mood that I want to capture. Since I work on abstract expressionism, it’s really important that my pieces exude a feeling. And that’s articulated most easily to me through a client’s favorite song – or story about why they like a particular image, color, etc.

Last, but not least, the location of a piece helps me identify dimension. Do we want a large or small piece? Do we want a rectangle or square? What kind of lighting does the space get? What pieces of furniture are already in the room? This helps me figure out lighting, as well as the kind of frame, that I’ll eventually set this piece in.

Once I have all the pieces, I create a color palette and sketch out a design. It can be silly cartoon pictures of turtles, or a mock-up of the overall piece. The inspiration can come from similar objects, like shells, petals or leaves (as in the case of my most recent request, which was based off pictures of Hawaii).


All commissions start at $200. This includes frame (but not shipping). For other questions or more details, please message or comment below!


Swimming to Paradise, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 30



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