View Full Version : Yarramundi Bridge... Commission.

07-15-2012, 01:51 AM

Title: Yarramundi Bridge... Commission.
Year Created:
Medium: Watercolor
Surface: Watercolor Paper
Dimension: 22
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

I have been commissioned to do this painting by the person who bought my "Yarramundi Fisherman" and the "Castlereagh River" watercolours. He wanted this bridge in this one, even though it is an ugly concrete bridge for sentimental reasons. I took a photo for him. I tried to limit the bridge when I photographed it so it didn't spoil the beautiful landscape around it. He wanted a long panoramic type view and this is what I came up with and he liked it on the photo. I hope it turns out ok for him. ????? arrrrgggghhhhhhh

I think I am almost finished, I have posted all 6 stages in the WIP forum so if you would like to see the stages you could check them out. I am still going to do a little more to the foreground and the bridge railings and I would like some feedback on colour, composition, tone and any other suggestions, improvements, faults etc that you can see. I hope the buyer will like it, I have spend most of yesterday and today on it. My other question would be, how do you price this type of work? I was very cheap on the other two, but this one is bigger and took more work. Any suggestions welcome. Cheers and thanks Debs. =))

07-15-2012, 06:41 AM
Beautiful water, Debs, with lovely treatment of reflections.
I think the right-hand foreground trees need more contrasts in tone --- in fact, the shades could be quite dark, balancing the bridge shadings. Similarly the clump of trees near the bridge seem to need more attention to shades and maybe the close foreground.
I don't have Photoshop, but here is a slight idea of what I am thinking.


I know that you are more than competent to make adjustments to the new reflections. I like this picture with its contrasts between natural things and the man-made bridge. The composition is well handled.
Charge him twice as much --- larger amount of materials, more time spent on it, increased framing costs, set the standard for future negotiations.
Good luck, :thumbsup:

07-15-2012, 06:54 AM
Thank you so much Geoff! You know it's funny, I asked my daughter (18 yr old) who isn't a painter, what she thought... I asked her to be completly blunt and honest. She stood back while I held it up at a distance and said.... exactly what you said!!!!!! :thumbsup: She said mum, I love it, the bridge is a lovely contrast to the trees and natural surrounds, but I think you need to add some more darker shadows to the trees on the right and in the middle to clarify them more and balance it! :D I said... I'll post it in the Open forum and see what they think! So, that's what I will do to it. Thank you Geoff and thank you Sally, that's two opinions exactly the same! :clap: Cheers and thanks for the heads-up on pricing, I had no idea, but that sounds reasonable. Much appreciated. Thanks also for the compliments and the advice. Debs. :wave:

07-15-2012, 08:37 AM
My pleasure, Debs --- and what a helpful daughter. Sally, you'd better come around and comment on my paintings. :thumbsup: :music:


07-15-2012, 09:53 AM
I can't suggest a price because the size of the painting didn't post fully and you didn't mention the price you achieved on the other sales. I think this is wonderfully competant work and I'm recalling many of your other posts to make a contrasting judgment. You've done great IMO. The bridge is unattractive and it's awkwardly positioned at the extreme left but that's not your fault, it's the buyer's. I've also had the experience of being commissioned to do something like I don't quite like and with which I struggle. Put on the varnish and take the money, says I.

07-15-2012, 01:57 PM
I am constantly amazed at what you people are doing with water colors. Just wonderful. Just add the few suggestions mentioned above and frame it. Beautiful work

07-16-2012, 08:35 AM
Thank you Geoff, Bob and Phil!!! I am humbled by your comments. It was a struggle to get this one right, I really wasn't looking forward to adding the bridge to such a beautiful natural landscape! However, somehow, the bridge provides a contrast to nature, and adds some interest I guess. I have less fear now of doing structures, something that had bothered me for a long time. Therefor, I have learned something valuable and progressed as a result. Regardless of what the buyer thinks, I am happy with the result and now have some confidence to attack works other than landscapes!!! Thank you again y'all for your invaluable feedback and support. This forum is awesome. Cheers and happy painting =)) Debs. x

07-16-2012, 12:55 PM
Beautiful work :thumbsup: Amazing intensity of colour for water colour. Arnie

07-16-2012, 01:28 PM
Nice one Deb, I agree with adding the darker values and the other tiny nit pick I have is with the tree tunks. They are all too similar in size and shape and almost appear to be a short fat fence there. Do some negative painting to vary the shapes of them and frame this and smile all the way to the bank! :)

07-16-2012, 02:05 PM
I second the comment of being amazed at what some of you water color artists are producing. :thumbsup:

07-17-2012, 04:45 AM
Thanks Arnie, Christine and Aires! I am grateful for your encouragement! Christine, I am going to change the tree trunks and the shadows as recommended by you and Geoff! I will then sign and frame it.... and collect $$$$'s! It was a great challenge to do this one and I am looking forward to my payment... if he is happy with it of course! Looking forward to doing more bridges now lol, now that I have had some practice. I will choose more artistic and attractive bridges though unless commissioned lol. Cheers and thank you again. Debs. =))

07-20-2012, 02:52 AM
I have tried to darken some areas and add more dark reflection and vary the lengths of the tree trunks and detail the foreground more. What do you think? more darkening still??? Cheers Debs.

07-25-2012, 01:41 AM
Hi Deb, it is a lovely painting - and if you have not decided on a price yet - here are a few things to consider:

1. If you can, try to find out what other artists are charging in your area.

2. Gallery prices are not a good guide unless you know what commission they charge, the artist does not receive the ticket price remember, some galleries can charge an arm and a leg as commission

3. Important - how much did it cost you to paint? Don't include time yet. Do include - materials - paper, canvas, paint and brushes and overheads - power, model, studio space if you pay rent on a space.

4. Keep a journal of time taken to paint the work you need to value your time - add a bit for your experience and reputation (if it is good :)) - this is the hardest part - do not get emotionally attached to the work - work out an hourly rate - $30? $20? $15?

5. Ok what price does that give you? Compare it with what is being asked locally, or in the areas you might show in - is it realistic?

For example - Materials $45, Time 12 Hours, Hourly Rate $22.50, Experience + 20% = $378

Not much is it. Wilbur cost me $6 in materials and 6 Hours = $300
But he was an oil. Small too it was only 30cm square

Bump up the experience or the hourly rate or both - use your own judgement here

It is probably still true that people will spend more for an oil painting than other mediums. I am not trying to start an argument :) But Artistic value and merit still command a price, and remember ( I say that a lot) what you are selling is a one off, an original.

Bottom line - Do not ever ever under price your work because if you don't see the value in it then no prospective buyer ever will.

Remember - you hopefully want to establish a reputation and exhibit somewhere, so if checking prices at a Gallery don't be too obvious as you may want to approach that gallery later about showing your work.


07-25-2012, 03:51 AM
The bridge is grey-blue-white. I would add a little bit green to the bridge, something like greenish (and ochre) reflections, so the bridge fits better into the landscape.

07-25-2012, 07:49 AM
I always charge more for commissions and give the price before I start plus take a deposit. I also say the deposit is fully refunded if they do not like the finished work for any reason. No refunds have been asked for so far. Plus I send wip images along the way which helps ensure everyone on same page. Pricing is as interesting a subject as Andrew outlined above. If it helps this is what I did. In 2008 I put 12 paintings 16 x12ins up for sale at $95 each. Sold out rapidly. So I did more and in some larger sizes and upped the price a bit. Sold out rapidly. Painted more and had brain wave 'gee maybe I am too cheap' so doubled the price. Sold out rapidly. I still don't have much work for sale except the works I have done for my exhibition in November even tho my prices have quadrupled since then. So - not big noting as nothing to big note about but practical advice is charge what the market will bear. Also working price out by square inch is a reliable way to go. Anyway your painting is a delight"

07-26-2012, 08:35 AM
Andrew and Marie, thank you so much for your advice! I was really in a dilemma but you have given me so much good advice that I feel much better about pricing it now. It has taken around 28 hours to get to this stage and needs a few more tweaks I think. It is an average size painting and with the frame and matt it will be quite a large painting. It is unusual dimensions so has to have a frame specially made which is quite expensive, I can't get a pre-made frame to fit it. I also drove to the spot and spent considerable time taking numerous photos from different angles for him to look at as he didn't want to take photos himself. I guess all this should be taken into acct. And if he doesn't like the price or the painting, he doesn't have to buy it, I will put it up in a local gallery or just keep it, I have had considerable interest from others as well. Wow, as you both said, there is a lot to consider when you really stop to think about it! Price per square inch is an interesting approach too Marie, and Andrew, not under-pricing is what I need to come to terms with, I will note closely all your points and suggestions, Thank you both so much. You are really very kind to assist me with this and although it is extensive, I feel you have helped me make this process much easier and more comfortable. Cheers and I let you know how it goes. Debs. =)) xxx

07-26-2012, 08:42 AM
Thank you Thomas for your advice, I had thought about toning the starkness of the bridge down somewhat, I will add some green tones and soften the distant pylons as they recede. Then I will call it done and get that frame on it! =)) This forum is exceptional, I am always amazed at the skills and kind helpful idea sharing of others. Priceless!!!!!!!!! Cheers and keep smiling =)) Debs.

07-26-2012, 03:36 PM
I absolutely agree w all the suggestions so far. And am interested in the pricing discussion as I'm considering entering a fall art fair.
MARIE - where/how did you sell your paintings?

08-16-2012, 08:59 AM
I have finally felt well enough to put the final touches on this. I have darkened the reflection, added a few little birds, softened the bridge in the distance and taken the bright white off it, detailed the mid-ground grass a little and added a touch more blue to the sky. I have signed it because I want to finish it and move on. Will still take critique, but I hope to get it framed and sold next week. Cheers and thanks =)) Debs. :crossfingers:

09-21-2012, 12:22 PM
I thought I would just post the framed version of this painting and tell you that the buyer was very very happy with it and I got the price I wanted! :thumbsup: In fact, he wants more work from me so I am pretty chuffed! :clap: :clap: It is not a very good photo, and looks very yellow, it looks much better in real life. All three of my cats wanted to get in on the action, it was difficult to take a photo because they wouldn't go away. :rolleyes: This was the least interfered with pic I could get. Cheers and thanks again for all the help and advice throughout the process, it was wonderful.:angel: :D Cheers =)) Debs. :thumbsup:

Mindy Z
09-21-2012, 03:51 PM
It is absolutely lovely. The colors are soothing and all work well together. I like how you've done the bridge and took the critiques to detail and add contrast to the foreground trees. This is something I would hang in my home. :-)

09-21-2012, 04:44 PM
Lovely painting! If your patron already bought two pieces he probably expects this to be in the same price range. One important thing is to be consistent with your pricing. No one wants to pay $300 for an 8x10 and then find you selling other 8x10s for $150. You could break down your pricing guide to a square inch amount- as in an 8x10 = 80 sq inches at $3 an inch ....then use the $3 a sq inch as the guide for all paintings.

09-22-2012, 10:44 AM
Thank you Mindy and Kathleen! He was happy with it and paid a good price that was fairly consistent with the other two. It did cost more because it was twice the size and was a commission that he asked for and I had to drive to the place and take the photos first, then he chose the one he wanted. The frame was quite expensive as it was especially made for the panoramic style he wanted and it had to match the other frames (they were pre-made and much cheaper.) I'm glad he was happy with it and thank you both for the kind compliments. It was a good experience in pricing ones work and has helped me to put a value on future works. Cheers and thanks again. Welcome to WC Mindy, I hope you enjoy this forum and all the wonderful friendly people and priceless help as much as I do. Debs. =))

09-25-2012, 09:12 AM
Very well done , Debzy. The picture looks great in its frame.

best wishes


09-25-2012, 10:14 AM
Thank you so much Mike for your compliment and for viewing the post. I appreciate you taking the time. I was quite happy with the result here, except for the fiddling lol =)) Cheers =)) Debs.

09-26-2012, 01:03 AM
Congratulations, Debs, in every way --- getting the commission, painting something that didn't 100% appeal at first, seeking and using critiques, introducing a discussion on pricing, completing a superb watercolour painting and showing it to us in all its framed glory. Great stuff !
Makes me proud to be a co- (naturalised) Aussie.

09-26-2012, 02:37 AM
I love the water and the bridge. I wish I could draw straight lines. I don't normally like watercolour but this whole painting has a nice feel to it. I guess I'm warming to the medium. - Gradually.

Your recipient of the painting should be well pleased.

This is an interesting thread regarding Commission work.

09-26-2012, 09:50 AM
Hi Debzy! The painting is wonderful! Nothing I could add to the good advices given. It is a matter of balancing the bulk of that bridge. For what its worth i noticed how thw water on the right that reflects the sheen of the sky...if there were more of it, helps to add the needed balance.

09-26-2012, 10:01 AM
Many gracious thanks Geoff and Ian. I am very humbled by your replies. I have thoroughly enjoyed the advice, the changes made in the painted scene and the wonderful responses to this thread. It has been very interesting, helpful, friendly, valuable and encouraging all the way. Pricing is not easy in the early stages of selling ones work, always torn between too cheap or too expensive... then you think of the work you put into it and the hours of toiling and altering, and then you think... well I'd rather keep it than sell it cheap because I worked hard on it and I like it... then you think... but its a person I know and they are really nice etc etc etc. It was indeed the trickiest part of the whole process for me. However, having such fabulous suggestions and advice on how I may price it, both from WC and some friends in the art industry, and really putting a value on my time, passion and improving skills, I eventually worked out what I thought was a reasonable and suitable price and the buyer gave me a little more because he was even happier with it than he expected. I will tell you how I got my price : The frame cost me $180, and I spent around 30 enjoyable hours on it whilst relaxing and learning a lot. I asked twice the frame price plus $20, Total $380. Amounting to approx $6.50 per hour of painting time. He gave me $400. Refusing the change of $20. I was happy with this and so was he. =)) A WIN - WIN I think. (The previous 2 paintings he purchased from me cost me $30 each for the frames and spent around 20 hours on each of those, only priced them $100 each.) I would be very grateful on feedback as to whether you think this latest one was a fair price or otherwise. I'm still learning both in art and in pricing so all feedback is valuable. Cheers and thanks again =)) Debs. P.S. Ian, good to hear and hope you continue to warm to this media!:clap: and Geoff... forever my Aussie buddy. :thumbsup: x :heart:

09-26-2012, 10:05 AM
Thanks Corby, for future works I will add your advice to the list! It is worth a great deal by the way, in fact, I don't think one can put a price on free advice from so many accomplished artists. Much appreciated and heeded! Cheers Corby =)) Debs.

11-01-2012, 09:31 AM
Hi everyone. I have only brought this post forward to say that obviously nobody is able to post new threads in this forum yet as there have been no new posts since 19th Oct. Thought I would just let anybody know who is interested that the WIP forum is still letting new posts go ahead, so anybody wishing to get feedback on new work could post in there until the site problem is solved. It is quite frustrating but I am sure they are doing all they can to correct the issues. Just a suggestion, take it or leave it. Cheers =)) Debs.

11-09-2012, 12:05 PM
I love the detail in the bridge as well as your use of depth. Very nicely done! :cat:

11-10-2012, 09:22 AM
Thank you RE. That is a lovely comment and much appreciated. Cheers =)) Debs.

11-10-2012, 10:20 AM
I'm glad you brought it up again, so I could again tell you that I think it's very well done, image, idea, color, composition, everything. I've learned right along with you.

In fact, I need a little break this morning. I went to the park at the end of my block a few days ago and did a charcoal sketch of a small area I like, planning to go back and do a watercolor of it, later intending an oil sketch. Weather's been nasty, and seeing this again, I think my break will be starting a watercolor (of which I know nothing) a la Debzy and just play a little bit. Then back to work.

That's a wonderful work, Debs. Congratulations.

11-11-2012, 07:00 AM
Awww thanks again Ella, such a lovely compliment. Good luck with your water colour and I will be waiting to see it develop. If I ca help in any way I will. Cheers and much friendship Debs. =))

11-11-2012, 10:45 AM
WOW! That is really nice!

11-11-2012, 04:23 PM
Hi Deb
Yes agree it is frustrating.
This was such a good site

11-12-2012, 06:55 PM
Hi Andrew! It was a great site, but I am guessing lots of people have gone elsewhere due to the constant frustration. The "ACK" pop up makes you want to smash something, after trying so many times, typing up the details, constantly re-sizing downloads, going through all the motions time and time again. Every time "ACK" I have given up, I don't bother trying any more, too much time wasting and frustration. I don't have that kind of time to waste. Sad for so many people who got to know each other and trust each others advice and critique. =(( Debs

11-12-2012, 08:36 PM
Yes that is true, I gave up.
Though some seem to be able to post a few things