Thursday, September 17, 2020

Five Videos about Commissioning a Portrait

This is about the process of commissioning a portrait and includes five very relevant videos to all artists interested in portrait commissions.

Today I am visiting the Mall Galleries to see the Annual Exhibition 2020 of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters - which opened yesterday.

Before I post a review of the exhibition (tomorrow) I thought I'd share with you some five recent videos about portrait commissions produced by the Mall Galleries.

  • One is about a portrait of Lord David Puttnam, the famous British film director by Hero Johnson in the current exhibition - with David Puttnam talking about the commission process and why he asked Hero to paint first him and his wife and then a portrait of him in the context of his work.
  • The next four are about the process of commissioning a portrait - in a series called "What Portrait Painters Need to Know For Commissions"
First a practical example of how portrait painters get commissions.

Hero Johnson paints David Puttnam's portrait - on commission


This video is told by David Puttnam and is the story of how Hero Johnson (Facebook Page, Instagram) got this commission and reveals both the first and second commissions she has painted for David Puttnam.

Lord David Puttnam by Hero Johnson
Lord David Puttnam by Hero Johnson

It just goes to show how EVERY portrait painted on commission can lead to more commissions if people see and admire the result of the first portrait.


What Portrait Painters Need to Know For Commissions


Annabel Elton is the lead officer responsible for the development and running of the Federation of British Artists's Fine Art Commissions Service.

In this series of YouTube videos she explains what portrait painters need to know when working to commission.

She's also written an article about Commissions" What artists need to know

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters also has an article about Five Steps to Commissioning a Great Portrait - from the client's perspective

Marketing & Promotion 


This has some very sensible advice about the content and accessibility of the artist's website from the perspective of the potential client. The emphasis is on driving interest to your website.

She also emphasises the importance of the press - and the local press - and the scope to provide them with both good stories and images.


The Clients Perspective 


The emphasis in this video is on understanding how the client looks at a commission and what they need to know - and how an artist (or their agent) can better serve their needs and meet their expectations by communicating well.


Pricing & Client Expectations 


Annabel demonstrates the various ways in which pricing of portraits works according to the stage of an artist's career and whether they are focused on attracting commissions by offering reasonable prices, or managing a queue for commissions which are building up.



Communication: Keeping a Client Happy


The emphasis is on excellent communication and making sure the client has clear expectations of what will happen and how things are progressing.




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