Commissioning a landscape painting
Commissioning a landscape painting is unknown territory for many people. So I’m writing this blog to take you ‘behind the scenes’ and show the whole process of commissioning your own landscape painting from start to finish. What the process involves and which choices you might make as the commissioner. This particular painting is being painted in the Swiss Alps.
In this case the commissioner has decided that the painting will be from somewhere in Crans Montana. With a large format in mind, and are quite open to ideas and happy for me to go about searching for inspiration. This is a real help to me. When commissioning a landscape painting it always helps to be flexible in some of your decision making whether it’s light, location or colour, just to name a few.
I explore the area as much as possible and to gather inspiration over the course of a few days. The time this takes can vary from a few days, to a whole week. It’s quite dependent on luck finding a good composition, weather and interesting light. In this case I spend two days skiing around the area making pencil sketches in my pad. On the 3rd day I then started two paintings, both of which did not satisfy, so scraped off and the search continued.
It’s quite frustrating but also part of the process and really cannot be rushed! Below are some photos as I explore the area. As you can see it’s breathtaking, unfortunately for me sometimes the best time to paint is when you most want to be tucked up in bed!
I ski tour around the mountain early morning then use the lift system during the daylight hours. After a while scouting I finally found some inspiration. Next stage is to make some small (35x55cm) oil sketches of all these spots. They usually take between 2 & 3 visits to complete and help me to judge whether my idea will translate well on to larger the canvas or not. It also means I can come up with some options for the commissioner before moving on to the larger, final painting.
Back to the commissioner:
At this point you have an opportunity to look over the oil sketches and choose the one you prefer most and would like painted for your final piece. Here I have had fun making a short video clip as I hike up the mountain with my canvasses and paining backpack before the lifts open.
Stage 4: The transfer to a larger canvas
During the next week I copied the small sketch on to the larger 100cm x60cm canvas. Continuing to take the new large canvas back up the mountain each morning with my skis to continue painting from life. After a week painting it was finished, but more depth was needed and I wasn’t quite happy. I knew at this point I would need to start again! Note to self; must be more careful next time when choosing which sketches to enlarge!
Stage 5: Change of plan
Luckily, whilst I had been painting this sunrise I had also scouting a new location and started a painting there too. It was an early rise (4am), and started with a 1hr 15 ski tour in the dark to get there with all my stuff. But it was worth it and the light was so delicate, so we agreed that this new exciting location be used for the next attempt. Phew.!
After many weeks spent in this stunning mountain location, sketching many different locations the final painting is now complete. Here are some photos of that particular painting in progress, along with the final image.