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  • Charlotte Collins

Painting a Commission

I recently had the pleasure of painting a commissioned still-life piece and thought it'd be a good opportunity to share a bit of my artistic process in blog form - instead of my usual art process Tik Toks (@sand.cherry).

Since I'm just starting to sell my art, I'm flexible with commission pricing and can work with you and your budget. If you are interested in having a commission done, reach out!

That said, here's a bit of my art process! For this commission, the customer asked that I paint King Oscar sardines, Ritz crackers and cheese, and a flower. I spend a good amount of time (1-2 hours) on my first step, which is creating the composition of the painting using Photoshop. I ended up with the below image, which I cleared with the customer before starting to paint.

Next, I created a monochromatic underpainting, which is essentially a 'sketch' layer that you use to create your composition. Traditionally, the underpainting is done using paint that is thinned with paint thinner, as it dries more quickly than traditional oil paint. I tried something new, and perhaps less convenient, with this painting, and used cadmium red medium, cadmium red deep, and white paint thinned with linseed oil to create the underpainting, which was more of an Alla prima painting (a painting done in one sitting) itself. While this took longer to dry, I'm really happy I made this choice, as I found that letting bits of the underpainting peek through in the final gave a nice effect.

After the underpainting dried, I went in with color. You can see a bit of that process in my Tik Tok linked to the below screenshot.

While my goal was to finish the painting with just one layer of color, I ended up going back again after it dried to define highlights and details in the sardines wrapper. Below is what it looked like with one layer of color:

And then, after defining words in the sardines wrapper and putting a light yellow glaze (a thin layer of oil paint mixed with linseed oil) on the tulips:

This piece took a good amount longer than I had planned for - I budgeted 5 hours and took probably 12 to make it. But, this is not a failure in pricing! It's a helpful learning experience in estimating work time. While I start out with selling art, I aim to keep prices affordable; increasing access to art and helping me practice art as a business!

Here are all those steps again together for comparison:

Thanks for reading!

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