If you haven't had the opportunity to commission an artist to create a bespoke piece of artwork before, this page might be really useful for you to have a read and scan of the photos. It follows a live pet portraits commission from 2016 of Gypsy, a beautiful horse owned by Val Davies and her family. The oil painting was was commissioned as a birthday surprise for her granddaughter. We hope you enjoy following the process and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to email us at any time.
Clients photos are absolutely key in the pet portraits process. We really need some good quality, clear and in focus photos. Val and her family did a number of photo shoots of Gypsy, emailing us batches of photos for us to see over a number of days. We were then able to let them know the different options for the portrait - from a head study, full body with studio background, full body with full background etc. The photos below are a just three of the photos that Val’s family emailed.
Val and her family decided that they wanted Gypsy within a scene and they liked the full body photo of her in the field below left. Nicholas was to paint the background using some of the other photos as reference for the sky, grass and trees.
Once the mock up has been agreed and the size and price confirmed, we email our clients a secure payment link which is personal and private to them. Pencils drawings require a £200 deposit and oil paintings require a £500 deposit. Once the payment has been made, the mock-up will be placed into our Client List. As soon as our clients are nearing the top of the list, we drop them a line with the good news that we are about to start. We then email a final payment link. Full payment must be made prior to starting any artwork. We use Worldpay as our payment provider and accept all forms of payment including debit and credit card along with American Express. We also accept Paypal and bank transfers.
Once the final payment has been made and the canvas, which we order bespoke for each client has arrived, Nicholas starts putting brush to canvas. Each client can see the stages of their portrait on our 'On The Easel' blog. Clients love watching their painting develop. There are always more stages with the oil paintings than the pencil drawings. We are always happy for our posts to be shared on facebook or other social media as we always watermark the images. Clients can email us to offer feedback during the stages, or they can comment on the blog at any time.
As soon as the painting or drawing is complete we scan the portrait into our iMac and email our clients with the finished artwork. The scan below shows the final scan of Gypsy. At this stage our clients can let us know if they needed any changes made.
We work with two wonderful companies for our portraits. Framing is of course optional and we are more than happy for our clients to find a framer local to them to have the artwork framed. We cant stress enough though - try find the best framer you possibly can to frame your portrait. A frame can really make or break the artwork and it needs to both compliment and protect your artwork.
Our framers offer an extremely high quality service and we can obtain quotes for you, for which ever style of moulding you would like. We work with Amanda who makes all of our traditional wood, distressed and plain gold and silver frames. These are mostly suitable for our pencil drawings. We then work with a framing company who specialises in gold, silver, painted and ornate swept and moulded frames.
Val and her family opted for one of our moulded frames and you can see in the photos below, the 'Chelsea City' frame they chose is beautiful. It is one of our favourites and it work so well with grass greens and blues. It compliments beautifully.
Once the painting has been framed, we take a great deal of care over the packing of the artwork. Our paintings and drawings are sent far and wide globally and so they need to be safe, snug and secure. As you will see from following the photos and explanations, a great deal goes into it!
First of all we use cellophane to wrap the portrait to keep it free from dust. If you are taking your portrait to your local framer, it would be wise to keep the painting or drawing wrapped in the cellophane to protect it until its been framed.
Next we use specialist packaging to protect the portrait if it has been framed. The photo below shows the blue foam edging which is placed around the circumference of the painting going over the edges of the frame. Drawings have similar packaging but slightly thinner corner edges. This really helps to protect the frame and the portrait through the mail. We keep it all together using cellophane handy wrap which sticks to itself. its great stuff, i love to use it. I call it 'Happy Wrap' as it really is a happy and fun thing to use!
We then wrap the portraits in foam to keep everything protected. We purchase the foam wrap in large rolls and a little goes a long way. Its perfect for packing our portraits. Really protective.
The package is them measured and sheets of hardboard are cut to size. Again we use the 'happy wrap' to keep everything together as you can see from the photo below. We purchase 8' x 4' sheets of hardboard from our local builders merchant, 10 sheets at a time. They are then cut in half for us so we can easily store them in our tool shed. We then bring a few sheets into the studio and cut them bespoke for each portrait. All of our portraits are different shapes and sizes so we cut each sheet individually to size. We have found it is perfect protection for the paintings and drawings on their long journeys.
A final few layers of foam wrap are wrapped around to not only protect the portrait but to protect the corners of the portrait where the hardboard edges are.
The finished product is shown in the photo below. A red waterproof outer layer is the final layer to be added, along with the packing labels and the fragile tape. We send most of our portraits UPS on an express tracked service. They don’t stay in the postal system too long, only a few days and the paintings arrive at their destinations to our happy clients!
We hope that you have enjoyed this page of information about our pet portrait process. If you have any questions you are more than welcome to contact us at any time. We look forward to seeing photos of your pet and working with you soon.