A Guide to Commissioning a Portrait Painting

Commissioning your very own piece of artwork is a great way to celebrate a milestone or memorialize a loved one or a favorite furry friend… and it’s a lot easier than you’d think!

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Meet portrait artist Renae Hill, a local watercolor artist that specializes in creating original portrait paintings. She uses her passion for storytelling to create a unique work of art filled with meaning.

What is a commission & why buy one?

A commission represents the best of both worlds – it’s an original work of art that is custom tailored to fit you. Purchasing a commission allows you far more freedom to get exactly what you want in your art selection than searching for hours to find the perfect piece. .

What is the process?

The commission process begins with a conversation – what would you like? When designing the piece, send the artist good quality images for references. The artist will then make a rough sketch, and send it to you for confirmation. Once finished, another photo will be sent for approval before shipping. Renae follows a similar process. Once she receives reference photos and a down payment, she can get started. She’ll create a rough sketch, and send a photo for approval. Then, when she knows you are happy with the piece, she will start in earnest.

How long will it take?

It depends on the artist. Many factors must be taken into account – the size of the piece, its complexity, materials used, mounting & transport, as well as the artist’s schedule. The best way to find out is to talk with the artist directly. Because Renae works in quick-moving watercolor, she can usually have a painting completed in a week or two.

How much does it cost?

Most artists start with a base price, and will increase incrementally depending on a number of factors, including time & materials, as well as how many faces are in the painting. A 50% down payment is requested before the piece is started, so the artist can cover preliminary costs (materials, canvas, etc). Renae’s portrait prices are start at a very reasonable $400 for an 11″ x 14″; $600 for 16″ x 20″; and $800 for 18″ x 24″

Can you do it from a photo or must it be real life?

Both! But again, it depends on the artist’s preference & what precisely is being created. Renae likes to use 3 different reference photos, so she is able to add her own whimsy & artistic flair. She looks for quality photos with good coloring and a well lit subject in the pictures. If you are wondering about the quality of your reference photo, just email it to us so we can take a peek.

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What if I don’t like it?

The goal of a commission is to create a piece of art that you love. During the design process, you will likely have many opportunities to say “Yay!” or “Nay!” to what is being created, so that by the end of it you will have a piece that is specifically tailored to you.


Reference photo of my 10yr old Vizsla Tikka

In less than a week, Renae presented me with the finished portrait. Can you tell I liked it?

About Renae Hill

“As an artist I work at creating my paintings that speak both to me and to others about the beauty that exists,” said Renae. “I can look at a scene in nature or an interesting old woman and have to tell my own story about it. My watercolor and oil paintings allow me to show light, shadow and the rich blending of color to make my story come alive.”

Rene has a passion for people, and portraiture. She was taught that if you can draw people, you can draw anything. Rene took this idea and ran with it. Now she gets her inspiration from a number of places, and will often edit her base references in order to create something really spectacular.

“Walking down an old cobblestone street in Austria with the flowers in bloom, I see the scene in my mind and how it will become a painting… As an artists I can take the things that are working and leave out the things that don’t work. I’ve always believed that when you become an artist you see things in an extra dimension. You learn how to really see the world around you as you study shape, color and light.”

If you’d like to know more about how to order a special commissioned portrait of your beloved person or pet, please contact us for an initial consultation.  Renae would love to meet you at The Gallery and show you examples of her inspiring work.

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You can find more examples of Rene’s work at her website

By | 2017-12-11T13:07:34+00:00 December 9th, 2017|Art Services, Featured Artist|0 Comments