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Saturday, July 02, 2016

Are Commissions Scary? Tips on doing Portrait Commissions

Are commissions scary? Well in several ways they can be, especially if it is a portrait of someone.  I have done quite a number of portrait commission and I still worry about getting a good likeness. I can't help but wonder if the person who commissioned me will be pleased with the painting. So yes, I kinda think doing commissions can be scary, but not enough to say "no" to one!




This past week I completed a commission of a darling little girl named Alice.  The painting is done in watercolor and it was commissioned locally, but in the past I have had quite a few requests from online. Over the years I have come up with some guidelines that I follow to insure success with the client.

1. Get to know something about the client and the subject of the portrait.
Whether I am meeting with them in person or am corresponding through email, I ask about the person they wish me to paint. Getting to know something of the personality is helpful, because I rarely get to meet the subject in person. I also find out what is the occasion for the commission. In this case it is for Alice's birthday and she is the client's granddaughter.

2. What does the client want included in the portrait?
The client gave me a photo of Alice and I asked if he wanted me to crop the photo so that it was a more traditional portrait of face and shoulders, or would he like the pose as shown? As they often do, he asked me what I thought. I explained my preference for the whole pose because I thought it added more of a story about Alice. He agreed (obviously!). I then asked what size he wanted it done in. The client was going to get it framed himself. A lot of times people are not familiar with standard frame sizes, so I showed the client how different sizes would look. He ended up choosing an 11"x14" painting and it would fit in a 16"x20" frame with mat.

I also asked if he wanted the same background in the photo or would he like to choose other colors for the background. He wanted to keep it the same as the photo. It's best to confirm what you are going to paint!

3. Keep the Client updated.
I asked for the client's email address with a promise that I would email him the drawing to get his approval before painting it. I also asked when he would like it finished by. It was  the third week of June, and he said Alice's birthday was in mid-August and they were going to California to celebrate it with her. I estimated my commitments for the next little while and told him I could have it done by the first of August. It is best to make sure you allow yourself enough time. Then if you get it done sooner, the client will be pleasantly surprised.

I asked Mr. Client if he would like me to email a photo of the finished painting. He chose to be surprised  and see it when he came to pay for it.
Normally I charge 20 -25% of the purchase price upfront (non refundable) and collect the balance when the painting is finished. A lot of work can go into doing a commission and this insures that your efforts are covered in the event of a cancellation. Don't forget to mention that you will collect tax on the purchase price.

4. Drawing the subject.
This is where I spend the most time of the whole process. It is very critical to get the best drawing you can do before you start painting. I usually draw it, then wait til the next day to look at it again. It seems with a fresh view I can fine-tune the features so that I get a very good likeness. I used to not do the second step and quickly realized how important it was. Once finished I take a picture of it and email it to the client for approval.

Don't be too discouraged if the client suggests a few changes. For this commission it was approved as I had drawn it, but in the past I have had suggestions given. I found this was very helpful, especially since one of them was a commission from the internet. I usually only get to see one photo of the subject, but the client knows the person and their personality so their suggestions help me create a better portrait.

5. Ready to paint!
Tips on materials: Make sure you use quality paints and paper/canvas for your commission. If you use a student grade paper or watercolor paint, you will fight with the lack of quality and it's just not worth your time and can affect the quality of your painting. 
Make sure you don't rush through the painting process. You owe it to your client to do your best work and it should be fun!

6. Finished! 
Once I was finished, I made sure I had fulfilled all the client's requests. For the Alice commission, the client requested a Certificate of Authenticity. Some artists always include these with their artwork, but if you don't there are numerous websites that offer templates to download. In this case I used a COA from an online group I belong to.

7. Packaging. 
Because this was a local commission, I placed the painting on foam core that was cut to the size of the painting. As previously mentioned the painting was 11"x14" and I allowed an extra 1/2 inch on each side so that I could tape the paper down for painting. That way no white edges would show through the mat when the tape was removed. I then either use clear plastic envelopes to protect the painting or wrap it in cellophane. I sign my name on the back of the watercolor paper with the title and date it.
On the back of the foam core I attach one of my business cards as well as the Certificate of Authenticity.

8. Success!
The client was very pleased with the painting, and noted that he loved my style and felt that I had carried it across to the commission. He chose two of my blank cards with images of my artwork for family birthdays, etc and I told him that they were my gift to him for giving me the commission. With my online sales, I usually include one of my blank cards as well when I ship a commission. I always feel very grateful when someone purchases my art, so I like to give them a little gift!

So is painting a commission scary? Not if you do the best you can and communicate well with the client. Oh and one more thing, I charge a little more for commissions than I do for artwork that I create for the gallery. I do this because of all the additional steps that are involved when working with a client.

One more thing... I practice drawing people all the time so that I can improve my skills and I would recommend that to anyone who is interested in doing portraiture.

My largest commission ever?
The largest commission I have ever done was a cow painted on a 4'x8' piece of plywood that a client wanted for the side of his barn in New York. Shipping was a bit tricky but I managed!





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Exciting Things Going on in May!

May is slipping away, but before it's totally gone, I need to tell you a couple of exciting things! First I have been working very hard for my show up at the University of Utah's Pioneer Theater Company's Loge Gallery (whew! that's a mouthful). It's now in full swing and here are the details:

“Artful Miscellany”

"AffirMEtions"

Featuring the art from Irene Rampton and Catherine Darling Hostetter.

This collection will be on display during PTC’s production of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” May 6 through May 21, 2016. 
For full details click on this link

Please note that you do not have to attend the production, the theater is open during business hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The Loge Gallery is on the 2nd level. 

So, enough about me! I have another exciting thing to announce... Do you like night photography. What's that, you ask? 


On May 25th, Shayne Shaw, an award winning photographer will teach how to photograph the amazing night skies. Shooting almost any subject at night can add mystery, intrigue, and a special beauty that shooting the same subject during the daylight can’t match. In particular you will learn how to capture the beauty and majesty of the Milky Way along with light painting an interesting foreground landscape feature.
Topics covered include:
Best lenses and equipment for shooting at night
Proper camera settings
How to find and forecast the position of the Milky Way
How to compose and focus at night
How to properly light paint foreground landscape features 

Don't miss it!

Date: May 25th 6:30 pm
Location: Local Colors of Utah Gallery in Sugar House (1054 E. 2100 S., Salt Lake City)
Cost: $35
Register here



Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Cathy Darling's Pure Art Studio: Where Does the Time Go?

Cathy Darling's Pure Art Studio: Where Does the Time Go?: The past couple of months have just flown by! My workshop "Follow Your Inspiration" was a lot of fun and I got to know some really...

Where Does the Time Go?

The past couple of months have just flown by! My workshop "Follow Your Inspiration" was a lot of fun and I got to know some really wonderful ladies from it. That was in February! Since then I have been busily painting for an upcoming show in May at the University of Utah's Loge Gallery.

But what I really want to tell you today is that I have been a featured artist at Local Colors of Utah this past month. There is a reception this Friday during the Sugar House Art Walk.



The gallery is located at 1054 E. 2100 S. in Salt Lake City. 
Hope you can come!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cathy Darling's Pure Art Studio: The Art of Dreaming Big

Cathy Darling's Pure Art Studio: The Art of Dreaming Big:  O ver a year ago I came to the conclusion that I needed to make some changes in my life. I am an artist, used to be full time u...

The Art of Dreaming Big






 Over a year ago I came to the conclusion that I needed to make some changes in my life. I am an artist, used to be full time until I started doing daycare for grandkids about 4 1/2 years ago. Although doing childcare full time, I could still get a little art time in here and there.

As my darling granddaughter turns 5 this year and kindergarten looms ahead, my thoughts turned to making better use of my art time. For several years, I told myself that this is the 'season' for grandkids and my art was put on the back burner, so to speak.

In order to get more organized with my art, I started reading books geared for success and self improvement. I soon realized that my life could be whatever I chose it to be! I begin to think about what I wanted to accomplish with my art, something that I hadn't thought about since pre-child care. Surprisingly I found my mind blank regarding art goals. As I studied more, goals began to emerge and I began to take control of my life, rather than life controlling me.

So, I started dreaming big, as big a dream as I could think of. I continued to study and as I focused on my art dream, ideas and opportunities started coming my way. It is all pretty exciting! 

This Friday, I am teaching a workshop for the Utah Watercolor Society (in case you missed my earlier posts!) and it is all about zero-ing in on becoming the artist that you want to be and branding your art with your unique flair.
There are still a few seats left, it's not too late to join the fun. Come on, take charge of your art life and dream big with me!

Catherine Darling Hostetter
February 19-20
Learn how to use your imagination to personalize and add the unexpected to your watercolor style. Catherine focuses on animals and people in her artwork and often combines them with a whimsical twist. You will learn how let go and use your imagination with fun exercises. Follow your inspiration; where even the most traditional artist can incorporate creative ideas into their style!

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Art Within

I am preparing for my workshop this Friday and Saturday and I am really excited! I have so much to share! This workshop is not about teaching you how to paint like me, but it is about teaching how to reach into your subconscious mind and really make your artwork you! I have always thought that in order to stand out in the art world, you either have to paint exceptionally well, or you put yourself into it so it stands out uniquely from other artwork. Not that you can't do both, but perfecting our craft takes much practice. Meanwhile...

We can arrive at being unique in our art now. My students will deepen their understanding on how to listen to our inner voice and have the courage to paint what we think, This can apply to the most traditional artist. We will do fun painting exercises that make you really think. 

I believe goals are important and we will talk about our goals as artists. Lewis Carroll wrote: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there". I love that each of us are beautiful, unique individuals and when we apply this to our art, we share that beauty!





Only a few seats left! To join me for this workshop adventure, click on this link! 



See you soon!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

It's All About You and Your Imagination!


I have a workshop coming up for the Utah Watercolor Society!



Utah Watercolor Society
Follow Your Inspiration with Catherine Darling Hostetter
When
February 19-20th
9-4 PM each day

Add to Calendar

Where
Sons of Pioneers Building
3301 East Louise Ave
3301 E 2920 S
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

*With professional guidance, Catherine Hostetter will have you creating fun and exciting artworks during this 2 day workshop!
*Tap into your imagination and be inspired to learn how to incorporate some unique creative ideas.  Even the most traditional artists will learn how to tap into their creative mind.
*You won't want to miss this whimsical, fun filled workshop.
*Let Catherine inspire you to let loose!  Come and  explore your options with fellow artists!

Don't miss this creative opportunity!
Register Today!
It's Easy!
If you have any questions, contact:
Cynthia Powell
artists4ever@gmail.com
801-674-9503

Utah Watercolor Society | PO Box 581005 | Salt Lake City | UT | 84158-1005

Monday, January 04, 2016

I am the Guest Artist at the Utah Watercolor Society Meeting!

I love the Utah Watercolor Society! I get to start the New Year with them sharing some tips on drawing from within to add your own uniqueness to your paintings. Then in February I am teaching a workshop titled "Follow Your Inspiration".  What fun! Join us at the meeting tomorrow night- see the info below for details. I will also be talking about setting some artistic goals for the new year. If you are not a member of UWS, come check it out, there is no charge to attend the meeting.





Utah Watercolor Society
Utah Watercolor Society Announcement
REMINDER:
JANUARY MEMBERS MEETING AND DEMONSTRATION

 "Follow Your Inspiration"
CATHERINE DARLING HOSTETTER DEMONSTRATION 
Be prepared to get involved and splash some paint on January 5th with Past President Catherine Darling Hostetter! Let Catherine help you, "Follow Your Inspiration: Learn how to use your imagination to personalize and add the unexpected to your watercolor style."
Catherine focuses on animals and people in her artwork- often with a whimsical twist. Come learn how to follow your inspiration; where even the most traditional artist can incorporate creative ideas into their style! You will learn how to let go and use your imagination with our fun Creative Challenge!
We will be dividing up in 3 teams and inviting some audience members to participate!  Everyone will be on a team! Who's team will you be on; Team Catherine, Team Colleen (Reynolds) or Team Tom (Howard)? Join us for a fun night creating paintings from our imaginations!
 JANUARY 5TH  7 PM
Sons of Utah Pioneers Hall
3301 E. Louise Ave (2920 S.)
Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Utah Watercolor Society
PO Box 581005
Salt Lake City, Utah 84158-1005


Utah Watercolor Society | PO Box 581005 | Salt Lake City | UT | 84158-1005