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How to Commission Art

Anyone could easily be overwhelmed by the amount of choices available when commissioning a painting.


Part of my responsibility as an artist is to guide my clients through this process, see my guide below for a detailed walkthrough of the process.

Commissioning guide

I have found that the best way to start is to work backwards through 3 sections, what is desired for the finished work, the image itself and the budget.


These 3 sections combine to form the major part of the brief.

1. The Finished Artwork

  • Where will the painting be displayed and positioned?

  • What size should the painting be?

  • Will the painting be mounted and framed?

  • What style of mount and frame would best fit with its surroundings?

2. The Painting

  • What angle of the subject should the work portray?

  • What should the composition of the work be?

  • Should the subject be placed within its landscape or on a clean background?

  • How vibrant should the painting be in terms of colour intensity?

  • Which medium would best achieve the vibrancy and style desired?

  • Which ground or base surface is best suited to the chosen medium?

3. The Budget

Having made choices in stage 1 and 2, we can then discuss budgets. The pricing of the work will depend on the amount of time taken.


A line and wash will take less time than a watercolour, mixed media or an oil. The mounting, framing and shipping will also need to be factored in. I will work with you to get an agreed position, balancing what you want from the 

​work and your budget.

The Brief

I would normally visit a client at their property or their yacht so that I can understand the subject in context and gain some insight into the background and history of the subject and client/owner. I will also need to take a number of photographs and sketches of the subject.


A commissioned painting is a very personal thing.  It is easy to underestimate the importance of the briefing element of the commissioning process. I will want to get a good understanding of how you imagine the completed painting.


This process starts at the first meeting, and continues through conversations as the work develops.

The following details will should be discussed and agreed in general as part of sections 1 and 2 of the brief:

Review of the Brief

I always make detailed notes and sketches on the minutiae of the brief after the meeting. I develop a list of the source images I need and sketch out test compositions. I work up details so that the client and I are both happy with the approach before the main painting is started. I rely on a number of photographs that are supplied by the client or taken by me. On some occasions a drone may be required to obtain a high angle or if a speed image is desired.

I can provide samples or images to help you with your decisions.​

The following details will be agreed as part of sections 1 and 2 of the brief:


  • Landscape

  • Portrait

  • Square, round or oval


We always use the best available materials in our work. Acid free papers and boards, “Artist” quality water and oil paints and pencils so our paintings last and stay as vibrant or subtle, to ensure their longevity.


​A wide range of media are used in the creation of our paintings.


​A multitude of grounds are used depending on the required style and chosen media.


Each of our paintings are bespoke and therefore the size is only constrained by the chosen media.


We have access to the most talented artisans who can make any style of mount or frame to present the painting at its best. We use Styrene with a UV stabiliser which absorbs many of the damaging UV wavelengths in light. This protects the painting and reduces weight and the danger of damage or injury by glass.

In-Creation Process

During the creation process I share visual updates with the client and keep them abreast of when they can expect updates and how they will be sent.

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Simon Cavelle


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