Author: Eric_Lundeen, Contributing Editor
|As a beginning Wet Canvas member, I often used the step-by-step articles to gain ideas, insights, and methodologies for working in various mediums. I also used the articles to further my art education and to explore new media. In this article I want to share with members one possible approach to doing a large commissioned work. You will find a guideline to working with a client, executing the design on a large support, and following through to completion on the project. For those who have not been exposed to the process, (i.e. have not sold a commissioned work or worked on a "large" support) I hope that this article will be a stepping stone to releasing your creative talents!|
|The beginning steps in building a relationship with a client can be as varied as the creative process itself. Primarily, it involves and evolves with trust. A person may purchase one of your works, may show appreciation for your art, or may discuss fulfilling a need they perceive. Any of these, or others not mentioned, are the basis of developing a level of trust with the client. We can wait to be
"discovered," or we can methodically build our clientele. There are no shortcuts to riches or being discovered that I know of, only hard and persistent work. |
In this case, my client purchased some of my framed photography, and viewed artwork I had done in different media. He then asked me if I would be interested in helping him with a problem he had, getting rid of a source of irritation, a previously done painting, that he had negative feelings about. I responded that I would be happy to look at the project. (note: I did not commit to doing it yet.) We do not want to look too eager. In other words, I didn't start jumping up and down yelling "somebody wants me to do a commissioned work?!!". Use discretion, it is always appropriate.
|I arranged a time to meet with the client and view the ""old" artwork. It turned out to be a painted canvas that was four and a half feet by six feet in dimension. The painting was mostly sky with a very small portion of beach at the bottom with a few trees. "Whew", I was sweating already. I had never worked larger that 22" x 30". Where did I get the idea that I had what it took to do this project? The answer, shear guts! Sometimes you have to "risk it all" and go for it! I decided to approach the cost for this project on an hourly rate, being unfamiliar with how long it would take to do the project. |
Fortunately, the client was agreeable. If he had shown qualms about paying an hourly rate I would have estimated how long it would take while considering how little I was willing to work for. We never think of that, do we? We then began to discuss the subject matter for the finished painting. My client said "I would be happy with a blank white canvas." I, of course, argued for an opportunity to exercise my artistic talent to a little better end than what any house painter could do with a roller and white paint.
|I then returned to my studio to "work up" some ideas for my clients approval. I used a combination of watercolor sketches, the Microsoft paint program, and Photodeluxe business edition on my computer to come up with the following approaches. Be very sure, you are willing to work with any of these ideas when you come up with them. Heaven forbid that the client choose something that you can't stand and you have to paint it!|
|This is a watercolor sketch done on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of white paper. I liked this one, but it was not to be my client's first choice.|