How a Commissioned Painting is done by Elin Thomas
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Updated 11/2/2020

How a Commissioned Painting is Done by Elin Thomas

An Idea is Born...

A commission occurs when a person has a desire to see their beloved person or animal depicted in a fine work of art. Better than any photograph, an original oil or acrylic painting can be an heirloom for future generations while giving the originator many years of pleasure and memories.
First, a contact with Elin is made, usually through email. The size is discussed and prices are negotiated. If the commission price is acceptable, the person sends Elin available photographs of the subject.
In the case of the commission shown in this example, the horse was no longer alive. And the owner wanted his other two horses in the painting as well.
This is not a problem for a gifted artist such as Elin. At the right, you can see the photographs provided by the owner. All times of year and all types of lighting are represented. It is Elin's task to work with this diverse source material to make an original painting.
She gets to work.

The Rough Sketch...

First, a small sketch to position the animals according to the input from the owner is created. Nothing is firm at this stage, but this sketch process tells Elin much about the design of the painting-to-be. This is not shown to the collector, as it is probably going to go through several revisions before it is ready to be put on canvas.  The sketches don't look that good anyway.

Beginning the Idea...
Now the painting begins. On the best quality  linen or archival canvas, Elin prepares the surface with  a tone to remove the white of the canvas.  The she uses a brush to draw in the major shapes.  Roughing in the shapes and colors taken from the design in the sketchbook, Elin begins painting. She doesn't draw a careful drawing on the canvas, but prefers to refine and detail as she goes along. After the canvas has about half of its surface covered, Elin will email the collector-to-be with a jpeg image, similar to the one at right.. This image is to give the collector the structure of the painting and placement information. There are no details and likenesses at this time. She reminds the client that details will come later, and not to judge the "look" at this stage, only the placement.  Major revisions are possible at this time.  Usually the client is extremely pleased with this first showing and seldom do any changes need to be made.  This reflects Elin's ability to understand what the collector is seeking in having a commission done by Elin.

More painting goes on. Filling in the sky gives a fuller feeling of the depth and light of the painting.

Covering the canvas...
Unfortunately, this image was washed out because of a flash attachment to the camera. But it does show how Elin covers the canvas with her characteristic, wonderfully loose brushwork, and how she "details up" or tightens the rest of the painting. You can also see where she has made corrections to the legs, the whiter horse and the feeling of depth and light in the painting.

Continuing to detail the painting, you can see in this image that Elin is capturing the personality of this horse. Even with the backyard photographs provided by the owner, Elin is able to glean enough information to create this masterwork. Her ability to capture the "essential personality" of her subjects is the most amazing quality Elin brings to the portrait venue.
  Clients are assured that even with poor photographs, Elin's years of painting and seeing will nonetheless create a work of art of which they'll be proud.

In this closeup of the head of the commission, one can see the light and personality of this horse's portrait. Although not completely finished, the painting is well enough along to again contact the new collector for his or her input. Moderate changes can be made at this point, and using email assures the purchaser that quick and effective communication will be maintained for the duration of the commission.

Here's the painting finished, and the comment by the new owner was that it was as though the horse had come alive again, to be with him for all time. I'm really satisfied to be able to do this for my collectors.