I usually take on 2 or 3 private commissions throughout the year. These can range from wildlife scenes, favourite fishing destinations, canoe adventures to past shipping scenes.
Most of my artwork is a visual form of a past memory and that is typically what, you the client, want when you are considering a private commission. This is why the Artistic Cartography style works so well for commissions. The map or nautical chart that is used as the "canvas" helps to tell the story that you want your friends and family to see and remember.
The images above show some recent commissions:
River Otters: This was my last commission and I was essentially given "Carte Blanche" on this one so I went to our local Aquatarium to film their River Otters playing and wrestling. This was done on a nautical chart of 1000 Islands where the client currently lives.
Northern Walleye: This piece was done on a topographical map; hence the greenish hue, but the topo includes the favourite fishing spots. Walleye is favourite fish along with his constant companion, his black lab.
Canada by Choice: This is the Italian Ship Queen Frederica crossing the Atlantic Ocean. This was done on an antique map of the Northern Atlantic and depicts the immigration of soon to be new Canadians.
THE WAY IT WORKS:
After the initial agreement to start the commission, we go through a consultation phase where I try to get a very clear picture of what you want created.
This includes but not limited to:
* The main subject matter and how you want it portrayed.
* The location and whether a nautical chart, topographical map or even a portion of a map that could be used.
* The overall size of the finished piece including the framing, especially if a specific display location is desired; foe example over a fireplace mantle.
* Single or multiple images, medium used - multi or just graphite or a combination of graphite, marker and paint.
I usually ask for several photographs of the area that you want drawn and this may include on-site visits to get a clear picture of what the piece will entail.
Starting to draw:
Once the concept and full understanding of the what the desired finished piece will look like, I start to lay out the main portion of the drawing/painting.
Consultations are done throughout the process - usually through email and photographs.If the layout is agreed upon then the drawing continues with gradually adding more graphite, Staedtler marker and watercolour if this is part of your commission.
The Point of No Return:
One very crucial point that needs to be understood is that due to the nature of maps and the paper that they are printed on, the drawing can only proceed to a certain point before it can no longer be changed.
The "tooth" of the paper is what determines this. The tooth is the smoothness or roughness of the paper - the rougher the paper, the larger or bigger the tooth. The paper that maps are typically printed on has a very smooth tooth so to actually see the artwork and its texture, more force and darker pencils have to be used - thus the more difficulty in erasing or removing the graphite.
So the "Point of No Return" is probably the most critical moment in the commission. We try to have everything agreed upon at this stage and only very minor or additions can be done after this point. If a major change is required then a start over would be the only feasible way of making the change which of course would increase the overall cost.
This image above is well past the Point of No Return even though the final piece was no where near being finished.
A private commission is essentially the same as requesting an original piece of art that is specifically designed for yourself. My originals currently retail depending upon size and complexity retail between $ 2000.00 and $ 8500.00.
For this reason my commissions start at $ 3000.00 Cdn. The price goes up depending upon the size, complexity, colour, personalization and many more factors that are all discussed prior to the start of the project. Once the final price is agreed upon then a $ 500.00 deposit is requested and the project moves on from there. As the project moves forward then payments are made throughout the project until the piece is completed and delivered.