Commissioned Paintings Demystified

[caption id="attachment_422" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Century Vines, Ann Rea, charcoal on paper"]0408CenturyVines[/caption] I sometimes forget that commissioning a fine artist is not something that many people are experienced with and therefore may not be comfortable with. So I thought that I would share my commission process with you.  A fairly recent example of a private commission comes from my lovely patrons in Naples, Florida.  They reviewed my work on and then in August they visited my private live/work studio in The Presidio of San Francisco with their wine consultant, Bruce Nichols.  Through their active involvement with Naples, Florida Chaîne des Rôtisseurs they became acquainted with Tim Mondavi.  They were interested in a large-scale custom oil painting of Tim’s Continuum Estate vineyard. My patrons first decided on the finished size of their canvas.  Then they completed my commission application and booked me to create their custom painting.  I then scheduled a tour of Continuum with Tim Mondavi and his daughter.  The winemaker knows the visual nuances of the terroir and their enthusiasm and connection to their land provides me with inspiration.  During my tour of Continuum I took several photographs and my inspiration grew. I used my photographs of Continuum to sketch in charcoal on canvas board. After I completed existing private commissions I then scheduled my stay in the Napa Valley to paint at Continuum Estate vineyard. Patrons often ask how I choose to paint a particular subject.  The best way to answer this is to say that I don’t think about it, I just feel it.  Much like deciding what move to make when you’re dancing.  You don’t think, you just feel. To date I’ve completed over a dozen of the twenty or so field studies that I’ll actually paint in and of Continuum vineyard. Each piece is painted in one sitting to capture the inspiration of fleeting ambient light. Once these field studies are dry I’ll look at them again and begin to edit the series.  My creative process when I’m painting is much like writing a rough draft.  First I spill my thoughts, leave what I’ve written, and then return to edit it with fresh eyes. I’ll select one of these field studies that measures 16”x20” and use it as the compositional basis for my patron’s larger custom canvas measuring 30”x40”.  This final piece will be painted in my Pacific beach studio, where I can pace myself and control the lighting. Once all of the paintings are dry, my professional art photographer with photograph each piece.  Then I’ll register my series with the US Copyright Office to protect my intellectual property. The field studies will be uploaded to and made available to my collectors throughout the globe. However, my Florida patrons will get first dibs on the field studies in oil and charcoal studies on paper. The finished commissioned piece will be carefully packaged and insured for shipping to my patrons in Naples, Florida.  I'll also enclose my patron's "certificate of title" establishing the provenance of the painting and to provide documentation for insurance. Sometimes I’ll first provide the framing; sometime my collectors will use their framer. Most often my patrons will throw an unveiling party, where they host me and their guests to celebrate and to toast to the unveiling of the painting I created exclusively for them.
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