Commissioning a Work of Art

Commissioning a Work of Art

Reflection Pond is finished, and ready to be packed and shipped to it’s new home in Hawaii!

CommissionFinal_NHersh_blog

Reflection Pond, Spray paint, acrylic on cotton canvas with painted wrapped edges, 30″x80″x2″ ©2016NanciHersh

The commissioned diptych will hang in the new home of a longtime friend and collector, Cathalene. Scott and I spent some time in her beautiful piece of paradise last November to get a feel for the space and desired site for the painting.

Tough job, I know.

Cathalene suggested that I see the space in person. And she was right.

Her home is on the Windward (east) side of Oahu, a side of the island I spent little time at through all my years and visits to the islands. For Scott, it was the Hawaii he always pictured but had yet to find, with it’s white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and awe-inspiring sunrises. Nearby in Kahaluu, nestled at the foot of the majestic Koolau Mountains is the Byodo-in Temple at the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. Scott and I paid a first time visit to the Temple, walked the grounds and I spent some time sketching pond side with large orange and black koi, and colorful chickens and geese wandering the grounds.

photo of Nanci Hersh sketching pondside with watercolors

Sketching pond side at the reflection pond surrounding the Byodo-in Temple in Kahalu’u, Oahu, HI

The sense of peace and tranquility Cathalene was looking for, was in her own “backyard.”

Perhaps as a collector or artist you are interested in embarking on a commissioned work of art. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Why a commission rather than buying from your site or gallery? Are they looking for a particular size to fit a space? As an artist, what is it about your work that they want to live with? This will help you hone in what they are looking for specifically. Are there certain colors or other elements to consider?
  2. Can you visit the site? Virtual reality can work- but nothing like the real thing, baby. If a visit is not an option, ask or take photos of the wall, the environment, furniture, and what other art or objects are in the room or area.
  3. Time frame. When do they/you want it by and can you/they deliver?
  4. Budget. Yep, money talk. What is the budget- if this is a public commission you most likely have a committee to contend with, if it’s a couple- who are you working with? Best to have all parties on the same page.
Photo Koi #3 by Nanci Hersh hanging in situ

Koi #3 hangs in its new home in Hawaii and laying out the space for a commission

5. Proposal with Sketch. While in Hawaii, I used blue painters tape to mark out the space on the wall and took one of my sketches and “Photoshopped” the image into the space. This gave Cathalene a better sense of how my work would look in the room with it’s open floor plan. It also gave her an opportunity to be clearer on what she was looking for. After some discussion we were ready to move forward….

Commission proposal sketch in situ

Commission proposal sketch in situ

6. Contract. Spell it out on paper. What are the terms? I asked for 1/3 deposit -non refundable, but I always guarantee 100% satisfaction. If not satisfied, can be applied to a future purchase.) 1/3 upon completion with approval. 1/3 upon delivery.

7. Shipping? How will it be delivered? Who is responsible for packing and shipping costs? I looked into taking the canvas off the stretcher bars and having it stretched in Hawaii on new bars. After some research and discussion I decided it was preferable to have it packed (which I offered to pay for) and shipped via USPS which based on their website estimates seems to be the economical and offers enough insurance.

The paintings are ready to be packed and shipped and I look forward to seeing and sharing photos of Reflection Pond in its new home.

4 Comments

  1. Linda M. Merry
    March 15, 2016

    Nanci,

    This is breathtaking work!

    Your points about commissions are seriously good whether one is commissioning work or fulfilling a commission. I’ve never read anything as comprehensive. Wish there were a way to get it in print and widely dispersed.

    Ciao, Linda

    Reply
    • Nanci Hersh
      March 16, 2016

      Thank you Linda, I greatly appreciate your comments about the work and am glad that you found post informative and helpful as well! Feel free to share!

      Reply
  2. Meg Black
    March 22, 2016

    Very helpful and well written. A wealth of information for anyone thinking about a commission. And yes, I agree, commissioned work always fits the space to a T.

    Reply
    • Nanci Hersh
      March 22, 2016

      Thank you Meg- and I’d love to read more about your process of creating commissions for public spaces which you do so beautifully.

      Reply

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