What you need to know before commissioning a custom painting | Art commissioning tips | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

What you need to know before commissioning a custom painting | Art commissioning tips | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

Have you ever thought of commissioning an artist to paint a custom piece for you, but you have put it off because you don’t know where to start? 

I am here to help you take those first steps toward making that vision a reality by giving you a few tips to consider when looking for the right artist. 


Custom Commission Portraits | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art


Why Commissions?

Commissioned art is the best way to get the perfect art that is just as unique as you.  Custom art is made for you and by you.  It is meaningful, personal, unique, and a beautiful way to celebrate and memorialize those special life moments.

When an artist paints, they paint from what speaks to their souls with the hope that another will find beauty in it, too.  It is created from a personal space rooted deeply within making it personal to the artist.  It is what gives their art emotion and a voice, but when you commission an artist, they paint from your heart.  You become the visionary…the one in the so called “driver seat”.

Commissioning an artist not only a great opportunity to create something personal for yourself, but is also a way to give a meaningful gift to a friend or loved one.  About half of my customs (that’s a conservative percentage) are commissioned and gifted to others.  They make wonderful gifts especially for that one person who seems to have everything.  They also become treasured heirlooms to pass down to future generations.


Custom Commission Portraits | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

What type of art is best for commissions?

Anything.  If you can envision it, there is an artist somewhere who can help bring that vision to fruition, but here are a few good ideas…

  • Portrait of a loved one/s
  • Pet portrait
  • House portrait
  • Landscape… favorite vacation spot, a place where you find peace or happiness
  • Favorite flower or bouquet of flowers

There really isn’t a limit of options as long as you find the right artist for the job (which brings me to the main focus of this article).


Custom Pet Portraits | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

Before signing with an artist there are a few things you need to consider ensuring the artist is a great match.

  • Does the Artist’s painting style line up with your style?  If you are a traditionalist, you may not want to commission an abstract artist to paint a traditional (classical) portrait, and if you like modern contemporary portraits then you won’t want someone who paints classical portraits.  Do you like loose expressionistic paintings or do you like realism with all the fine details?


  • What subject matter does the artist have experience painting? If you are looking for portraiture then you may not want an artist who only paints landscapes, and vice versa.  The good news is there are many artists who are experienced in multiple subjects, and in this case, you need to remember point my first point when narrowing down the artist that’s best for you.


Custom Pet Portraits | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art
  • Understand the artist’s process.  Most artist require a deposit of either a third of the price or half of the price to reserve a commission (this is usually a nonrefundable fee) and then the balance once the work is completed.  Does the artist share process for your review?  How many times will the artist rework the piece to meet your approval?


  • Budget.  Commission work can be expensive, and the cost could expand a large spectrum from 100.00 to thousands of dollars.  If you have a smaller budget, you may want to look into an artist who is at the beginning of their career.  You will pay for experience because the more experience an artist is, the higher the price.


  • This does not have anything to do with finding the right artist for your vision, but rather how you can give your artist his / her best resources for the job. Make sure you provide your artist with clear photos.  An artist highly depends on the reference photos you supply them, and if you do not have a clear photo for them then you are not giving your artist the best opportunity to do their best work.  It is suggested to take multiple photos at different angles of the subject you want painted. Also…it is always best to use your own photos and not professional photos.


Custom House Portraits | Beverly Gurganus Fine Art

Commissioning an artist to create a painting that is equally beautiful and personal should be a wonderful experience for both parties if you take the proper steps to find the right artist for the job.  Understanding the artist’s style, experience, prices, and process will help you narrow the search and make it much more painless.

If you have considered custom art for a friend, family member, or even yourself, I am here to talk with you in more details about how I can help whether it be answering question or creating your vision.  You can learn more about my commissions here or you are free to email me.  It would be a pleasure partnering with you to create a one of a kind master piece!


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1 comment

I would like to get a painting of my grandmother’s childhood home to be done for her birthday next spring. It is good to know that I will want to try to find the right artist for the job. It does seem good to know that it would be smart to look for an artist who paints a lot of buildings. https://www.jbwinterbottomart.com/commissions.html

Ivy Baker

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