Creating a Commission Painting – Step 2:What determines the price of a commission painting?

by Maggie Shively in Commission Work

 I have four basic steps to doing commission work. Find the first step in Creating a Commission Painting – Step 1

There are two main determinations for the price of a commission painting: size and complexity of the image. Once we have decided on these two things, I come up with a price range that works.  If the price is too high, we can talk about maybe reducing the size of the piece or simplifying the image.  If it’s lower than expected, than usually I am not grasping something that the client has in mind.  The medium used – oil painting, charcoal drawing, pastel etc. – can also be adjusted for pricing purposes.


Once we agree on general size and price I ask for a deposit of 1/2 of the completed price.  I also set a timetable for completion.  Often a client will say it doesn’t matter when the piece is done, but I believe it’s important to set a date of delivery anyway.  Of course this delivery date is subject to the client getting preliminary drawings, paintings and responses back to me on a timely basis.  Time tables can be adjusted if something comes up for the client, but I try very hard to never make changes due to my schedule.
The Indianapolis client and I agreed upon a price and the client sent his deposit.  The paintings are to be oil on canvas, both the same size, and he has sent me pictures of where they are going to hang in his home.  One is to be a painting of his home and the other is to include, among other things, the dome of the capital building.  Our timetable is 60-90 days.  In addition to pictures he sent me, I hired a local Indianapolis photographer to take additional images for me.  Needless to say, the internet makes all of this possible and relatively simple.