How to Commission a Painting

Containment Policy: Still Life with Peonies, Dragon and Ginger Jar

Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

Copyright 2015 Kathryn Dana Halpern 

Initial Steps

 

If you are interested in commissioning a painting, please get in touch with me by using the email form on the Contact page on this website, or by telephone or mail. First, we'll have one or two initial discussions and consultations to determine the size and type of portrait (or still life) you would like, and to decide upon a general sense of the overall composition and design. This will contribute to determining the price to be quoted for the work. Next, I will send you a Commission Agreement form with these details of the size, etc., which we have chosen for your painting, with price quote, for you to sign and return along with the 50% deposit to begin work. Then we will set up an appointment for the initial creative and design work, and photography session or sessions. Depending upon the complexity of the composition, etc., this may involve one to three sessions of design, set up and photography. After that, your painting will progress as described below.

 

Creative Work and Design; “Sitting” and Photography

 

Traditionally, classical painting and drawing is done “from life”; that is, using a live sitter for portraiture, and a still life set up for still life paintings. I have come to use photography as a professional tool to make this process more convenient for the pace of the modern world. I do not paint from photographs, nor do I copy the photographs, nor am I a “photorealist” painter. I have learned with my eye how to adjust what is available in the photograph to be as though working “from life”. I generally use many photographs as references to create any one painting. Traditionally, this was done using many sketches, as well as many “live” sittings. For example, John Singer Sargent sometimes used as many as 80 or more sittings (each sitting lasting several hours) to finish a portrait.  This process is made more convenient for you by my use of photographs. After some discussion with you, in the initial consultations, regarding the overall size of the piece, and the general design and conception of the portrait, I will schedule a photography session for the subject, either at my studio or in a setting at your home, or other setting, for the portrait. Prior to the photography session, I will need to explore your wardrobe with you to design the portrait. Please note that I will have certain specific lighting and pose requirements, etc., for both human and animal classical portraiture. If you desire certain settings or still life objects to be included in the portrait, I can consider these. However, final discretion regarding design, composition, attire, objects, pose, lighting and setting must rest with the artist alone, and with my aesthetic judgment.

 

 

Timing

 

For the most part, the layers of paint in a classical oil painting need to dry in between work sessions. This, combined with the care and mastery required of classical realist presentation means that this type of classical oil painting is not a speedy process. I maintain the integrity of this process in order to offer you the highest quality of classical work and the most beautiful paintings which I can produce. Therefore, when commissioning a piece, whether portraiture or still life, I advise my clients to allow about six months to eight or twelve months for the completion of their work. This is once the initial creative and design work and photography are done, and upon commencement of the actual painting process. Ideally, once the painting is completed, it should then also be allowed to dry for another six months to one year before the final varnishing, framing, shipping and delivery. However, in most cases this is not possible. So, after completion, I will allow the painting to dry for at least one month before applying an intermediate finish varnish, framing and shipping. If I can visit you one year after that, or if you can bring the painting to me, I will apply the final varnish coat. If this is not possible, the painting will be well preserved and cared for simply with the intermediate finish which I use.

 

 

Still Life Commissions

 

To commission a still life oil painting, you may choose from my portfolio of still lifes, which I have already envisioned and created---but which are yet to become paintings. Or, I can create something new, based on our initial discussions.

 

Payment Schedule

 

 

After initial consultation(s) and our commission agreement form is completed and signed, 50% deposit is due, to begin creative work, photography, and painting; an additional 25% due at half way completion of painting, and the final 25% due at three-quarters completion of painting. Frame, framing and shipping costs (and any necessary travel expenses), as required, will be quoted separately.

 

 

Regarding Copyright

 

As a global, international legal standard, copyright and all related rights, including reproduction rights, for any creative work remain with the artist. 

 

Standard Sizes, General Design and Pricing Information

 

The price for any specific project may vary, depending upon complexity of the composition as well as size of the work. Other sizes are also available, if suitable for the project. Prices for larger works, more complex compositions, complex backgrounds or attire, multiple subjects, and/or portraiture compositions including still lifes, etc., will be quoted for the specific project. The price for each project will be quoted individually prior to the acceptance of the commission and our agreement to begin the initial creative work for the project. My standard prices allow for a simple background and include initial basic creative, design and photography work, but do not include frame and framing, nor travel expenses and shipping (as required). Specific pricing information provided upon request.

Portrait of Whiskey Cornwell

At His Home Overlooking Stage Harbor, Chatham, MA

Oil on linen, 20 x 24 inches

Copyright 2014 Kathryn Dana Halpern

Classical Portraiture:

Single Animal Subject,

Oil on Linen:

Classical Portraiture:

Single Human Subject,

Oil on Linen:

Head and Neck,

10 x 10”                                                                                      

Head and Neck,

11 x 14” or 12 x 12”                                                                

Head, Neck, Shoulders, partial Torso,

16 x 20”

 

Full Body, seated or standing pose,

20 x 24”

 

For larger dogs and horses only:

Full Body, seated or standing pose,

24 x 30” or 26 x 30”

                         

Full Body, seated or standing pose,

30 x 36”

Head and Shoulders,

11 x 14”, 12 x 12”                                               

Head, Shoulders, partial Torso,

16 x 20”                                                        

Head, Shoulders, partial Torso,

20 x 20” or 20 x 24”                               

Partial Figure, Seated,

24 x 30” or 26 x 30”                                                   

Partial Figure, Seated,

30 x 36”                                                                   

Full Length, Standing, uncropped figure,

30 x 36”

 

Partial Seated or Full,

36 x 48" or 40 x 50"

Classical Still Lifes,

Oil on Linen:

8x10”                                                           

11 x 14 " or 12 x 12 "

                                                         

12 x 18”

                                                                 

16 x 20” or 20 x 20”

                                           

18 x 24” or 20 x 24"

 

22 x 28”

 

24 x 30”

Please contact the artist for further information on pricing.

After the Fall, or Supersymmetry Breaking:

Still Life with Apples, Crystal and Refracted Light

Oil on linen, 15 x 20 inches

Copyright 2015 Kathryn Dana Halpern