Commissioning Artwork - Where do you start?

Commissioning Artwork – Where do you start?

Over the years I’ve done my share of commissioned paintings and have had several questions about the process. So, I thought it appropriate to share some of my thoughts and tips when it comes to commissioning artwork. Enjoy!

Artist Selection

Selecting an artist whose artwork speaks to you is my number one recommendation. If you love the artist’s previous work you’ll be more confident and comfortable with your commission process. If you’re looking for a bold large abstract painting, you don’t seek out a pet portrait painter, and vice versa! After you’ve selected an artist that specializes in the style of work you’re hoping to receive, reach out to them about budget, size, colors, and time-frame. If it’s important to you, ask your artist if they will show you progress photos, and if they’re willing to take input.

Crossing Rivers Health JWebbCommission.JPG

An abstract yet obvious imagery commission…

This commission was created for Crossing River Health and was done in my abstract style with obvious imagery. The client gave input along the way and we love how this cheerful 48 x 48 inch painting takes the viewer on a healing pathway.

Sketches. Input. Adjustments…. and success!
Thanks to Brian with Art Partners for being great to work with, and to Crossing Rivers Health for supporting local artists!


When I take commissions there are a few things I let my client know and a few things I like to learn from them upfront.

To make it easy, I have a short list of questions that I like to ask you before we get started.

Since I specialize in creating abstract artwork, my first question is typically geared toward finding out what scale of abstraction you are interested in.  I also make sure you have viewed some of my previous artwork examples. I must know you like my style from the start, because that is something that is steadfast in all of my work. I ask about color palette, size, and budget. I also ask you to give me adjectives to describe what feeling you want from the painting.  Artwork can and should influence the mood and tone of your room. 

Having the answers to these primary questions before we begin is the key! 


It is also a bonus if you have reference photos to show me. These can include photos of paintings you especially like. Knowing whether it’s the color, bold marks, size, texture, etc., that stands out to you is helpful.  Photos of the space you envision hanging your painting can be especially helpful if you want guidance on deciding the appropriate size, or color. If you have paint swatches or fabric samples, I can reference those, too!


Reference photos for an abstract escape…

This client sent a great package of reference photos and fabric swatches, when they hired me to create an abstract commission that would remind them of their adventures in Iceland. “Glacial Escape” was born.

Input and Completion

You can rest easy knowing that I will create your painting with the highest quality materials, that you will receive progress photos, and that I will take your input along the way.  I send progress photos once the color palette has been determined, at about 20 percent finished (to make sure we’re still on the same page), and then again at 75 to 80 percent complete. I value your input, and it’s encouraging to know we’re on the same page!  

The best feeling is seeing my artwork in its forever home and knowing the collaboration has made my clients truly happy….success!

Obviously, this is my own personal and professional opinion and what works for me; other artists may do things differently! :)

"We have a commissioned JWebb original painting in our home in Houston, Texas, and we couldn't be happier with it!  Jillian captured exactly the mood and atmosphere we wanted to evoke - an abstract renditioning of glacial landscapes and the winter "blue hour."  At first, commissioning a painting seemed strange -- how do you tell an artist what to paint? But Jillian was so easy to work with - she listened carefully to our description of colors and mood, consulting photos we had provided and checking in with us during the process.  The result - our "Glacial Escape" painting - is a treasure that we will enjoy for years to come."

--  LeAnn and Craig Watson


Ready to dive into a commission of your own?
Contact me to get started!

JWebb Photography | A Northeast Iowa Snowy Winter Engagement Session

JWebb Photography | A Northeast Iowa Snowy Winter Engagement Session

We had an unusually mild December, so I crossed my fingers we would have a snowy weekend this winter and it worked! This actually happens to be the snowiest winter since we moved to Iowa! Maybe I jinxed us? On the bright side, it made for an absolutely breathtaking engagement session. I am so excited to share a few of my favorite images from their snowy/steamy session with you! (Yes, I even shared a few climbing through the snow banks, this is real life folks!)

Read More