Are you on a quest to find that perfect work of art for your home and you still have not found the right piece? You may have a vision in mind for a gorgeous painting but you do not know where to go to find it. Perhaps you have come back from a marvelous vacation spot with a camera full of beautiful photographs and want a piece of art to capture the magic of that moment. Hiring an artist to create a commissioned piece of work is the perfect way to get what you want, however, it is a different process than simply purchasing from a website or gallery.

I’m Anne Stine, a professional mixed media artist who has created many commissioned paintings for happy clients. Here is the process of how I work with a client from start to finish to help you understand what to expect when you hire an artist for a commissioned painting.

1. Finding an artist

Local galleries are a great place to find an artist for your commission project.

There are many ways to find an artist for your commissioned painting. Your local art gallery is a reliable resource to help you find an artist who lives nearby and whose style you admire. Galleries usually are happy to give you the contact information of their artists because they will have previously worked out an arrangement with the artist to receive a percentage of the commission, or, they may wish to contact the artist directly. You can also look for artists online or attend local art fairs until you find the perfect artist for your needs. Not every artist accepts commissions for a variety of reasons, so make sure to inquire upfront. You can see my current available paintings and sold artwork on my website.

2.Working out the Details

Commissioning a painting should be a fun and collaborative experience. Whenever I begin a commission project, I ask my client these questions to make sure I am a good fit for their needs.

What medium and size are you interested in? What emotion do you want the painting to convey?
I am a mixed media painter specializing in encaustic wax landscape artwork with an impressionistic style who paints in a wide variety of sizes. However, I am also well experienced in traditional oil and acrylic painting of still life, portraiture and animals. Don’t assume an artist only paints in one medium or subject matter. They will be happy to show you their portfolio of their work and explain how they can meet your specifications.

What is your time frame? 

Depending on the artist, commissions can take many weeks or months to turn around if the artist has a busy schedule or prior commitments. I ask my clients to allow four to six weeks from the time I receive all the information I need to begin to the finished painting. Let your artist know upfront if the painting is for a special occasion. Like me, they usually will try to meet special deadlines if they are made aware of them.

One of my commissions taken from a photo of Duxbury, Mass.

Do you have reference photos?
Most artists work from reference photos for commissioned paintings. If you only have a vision, try to be as detailed as possible of what you are looking for and perhaps share examples of similar work. If you simply wish to have a piece created similar to one of the artist’s existing paintings, be aware that an artist is unable to replicate a previous work completely. Each painting is unique and it is not a copy. I work from reference photos, and will sit down and review the photos with my client to make sure I understand what is important about the scene to them. I then create a preliminary sketch for their approval before I begin.

3. Commission Contract

Most artists will draw up a simple contract outlining the scope of the work, payment schedule, review process, and delivery. A contract is necessary to ensure that the artist and client are clear of each other’s expectations and to alleviate miscommunication. I always provide a simple commission contract for my clients including scope of project, timeline, payment, and delivery details. Like me, most artists will require a 50% deposit before work begins with the remaining fee collected at the time of completion of the commissioned painting.

4. Review Process

When you commission an artist, you will want to have the opportunity to review the project as it progresses. I provide clients a preliminary sketch of the composition before I begin a painting and a review of progress at 75% completion. This allows the artist and client to have a clear understanding of how the commissioned painting is progressing and alleviates uncertainty. This is the time when the client can make changes. Note that you may be charged an additional fee if you have major changes onceyou have signed off on the second review. Hopefully, you have communicated your changes early on in the process so this does not occur.

5. Delivery

Painting delivered and installed at my client’s home.

The detail of whether the painting will be picked up from the studio, delivered, or shipped should be outlined in the commission contract. You will want to be aware that shipping is an extra charge added to the final cost of the painting. I provide the shipping charge upfront for my clients. As an added service, I also provide personal delivery and installation within the Metropolitan D.C. area free of charge.

A Positive Experience

Original art makes a home come alive and reflects the personality of the person living there. It becomes even more personal when you commission an artist to create the painting of your dreams! By following these five steps to commissioning a painting, your buying experience will be a positive one.

To see my portfolio and learn more about me as an artist, go to

You can contact me at anne@annestinecom for commission inquiries.