The process of painting a commissioned artwork is an interesting one. Painting to commission usually begins with an email or enquiry asking whether I would be interested in a particular type of painting, whether animal, landscape or floral. Usually the subject is similar to a painting that the enquirer has seen either on this website or when I have work on display locally. I am always delighted to receive such an enquiry and look forward to hearing what it is about the subject that has enthused my customer to the point of wanting to capture their memories for all time in a painting.
A couple of years ago I painted a small watercolour of Skidby Windmill in East Yorkshire. It is quite a landmark of the area, standing on high ground and visible in many directions across the local countryside. I followed with interest as its sails were removed, giving it a forlorn look for many months. When the repairs were finally completed I decided it was high time I painted such a notable historic building.
The painting sold quickly and another followed which was displayed for a while in my watercolour landscapes gallery at www.minigallery.co.uk/Stephanie_Hatley/ prompting an enquiry as to whether I would like to paint Bardwell Mill in Norfolk to commemorate a fundraising day that had been held there. Of course I was interested and a photograph duly arrived by email. The scene was colourful and lively and I immediately began to think about how I would paint it, which elements to emphasise, where my clients particular interest might be focused.
In this particular case, the brief was to capture the timeless spirit of the day, that it might have been any day in the Mill’s history. One or two more modern elements were removed and care was taken to focus attention on the vintage car and bike in addition to the mill and surrounding buildings. I’m delighted to say that prints of the painting are now used to continue raising funds to help with the cost of repair work. As you will see from the painting the mill had only two of its sails at this point in its restoration.
Bardwell Windmill, Norfolk, a commissioned Original Watercolour by Stephanie Hatley
Recently I was asked to paint Skidby Windmill again, this time to be given as a wedding present to commemorate the big day, quite a responsibility! Blue skies and a general cheerful palette of colours helped to add a bright celebratory feel to this painting.
The first step when I begin painting to commission, is always to have a general conversation with you either by email, telephone or in person if local. It is important for you to feel a rapport and for us to be comfortable with each other. I like to discuss the subject matter of the painting with you, and to have a good understanding of what you have in mind, areas such as atmosphere and what memories are to be captured will be important at this stage, either acrylic on canvas or watercolour will be chosen. This is a good time for us to consider the finished size of the painting and to establish a budget.
Next, having decided on the mood and content of the painting, it’s time to start drawing and I’ll begin a sketch fixing some of the detail we have discussed and showing the colours I intend to use in the finished piece. Often a photograph fails to capture the light and vibrant colour which is part of your memory of the event and recapturing this will be an important part of the brief. I will usually post this to you so that you can consider the colours which will be used. After this we consult again and any changes and new considerations can be taken into account. An approximate delivery date will be set.
When the painting is finished, l will email you a scan for general approval and assuming that all is satisfactory either dispatch by Royal mail, or send for bespoke framing as you wish. I always hope to capture your memories of a special day or event and am delighted to hear back from you when you have received your painting to know that it is as you hoped.
Commission your painting. Email: art(at)stephaniehatley.co.uk (click)
And to finish….
I recently enjoyed a walk in the Skidby area and took some rather inspiring photos…………watch this space!
By Stephanie Hatley – Yorkshire Artist