Reconstructing Historical Landscapes

There is a growing opportunity for painters to make a living by painting historical landscapes using old postcards or photographs as reference material.

I recently experimented with this by taking three old faded, black and white postcards and reconstructing the landscape. They were subsequently scanned and printed and sold in the area they were painted. This could be done in any location should you possess the skill of an adequate landscape painter and a modicum of flair for color and drama.

This depicts a dry dock in the same town 1895. I applied a Turneresque look to the scene.

These paintings were also made into postcards and small prints for which I receive a small income.

Again, the painter should not be so elitist as to spurn such work. Society has, and always will, treasure such efforts should they be atmospheric and definitive. With the right training a painter could always make a good living traveling up and down the coast, or around the country just producing such pieces of work. You might find the local Historical Societies are also interested in commissioning such work - they surely have a wealth of material you could use!

GO TO ... Other Commissions

• FILLING THE GAPS OF HISTORY

• MAKING ORDINARY THINGS EXTRAORDINARY

• ILLUSTRATING FABLES AND LEGENDS

• RECONSTRUCTING LANDSCAPES OF TIMES PAST

• PAINTING PORTRAITS AND COMMISSIONS

• PAINTING FOR DECORATION

5. Commissions

Due to 50 years of the press showing works of 'art' being made by elephants with brushes held in their trunks, monkeys, guys riding over canvas with bikes, kindergarten children and anyone else with no talent and no training; it is increasingly difficult for any member of the public to believe a professional painter should receive a per hour renumeration that might be similar to what a plumber or an electician might recieve should they spend an equivalent time at a contracted task or job.

This has become the sad lot of painters so the point must be made forcefully and prima facie before any work is undertaken that you expect to be paid on a scale commensurate to your study, skill and experience; at least at a tradesman's hourly rates.

Here I will discuss just a few basic rules for graduated painters who intend to make a career out of commissions.

• Be professional. Make the client aware that your hourly rate should be adequate.

• Define the work: Make sure the size of the canvas, paint, the mounting and frame are all costed and defined. In a lot of instances it is appropriate for the client to agree to pay separately for the frame. This does not preclude a caveat by the artist on the type of frame to be used. I find it useful to make this provision at this stage.

• Take a deposit - at least 10%. More if you are including the frame and mention the cost of artist quality paints, particularly if you intend using any seriously expensive colors such a cobalt blue etc.

• Settle on a completion date with + or - variations for unforeseen circumstance. It it is a portrait this time should run concurrently with the sitting times and the sitters availability.

• Agree on the scene/portrait - general colors and style and if a portrait the mood and props. Don't rush this as it is most important. You should value a happy customer for it is from them you will get a plethora of new clients.

• Be careful the client understands that you will exercise your skills to the fullest but not all paintings turn out to the clients perfect satisfaction. In fact the client should be made aware there are certain risks involved that are separate to actual performance.

• If possible get your signature and your clients on a piece of paper!

• And never, ever, take on more commissions than you can handle. Portraits particularly, can become very demanding whereas commissioned landscapes are usually a joy - particularly in summer.

• Be professional.

GO TO ... decorative paintings OR ... back to lesson list

FILLING THE GAPS OF HISTORY

MAKING ORDINARY THINGS EXTRAORDINARY

ILLUSTRATING FABLES AND LEGENDS

RECONSTRUCTING LANDSCAPES OF TIMES PAST

PAINTING PORTRAITS AND COMMISSIONS

PAINTING FOR DECORATION

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