if someone asked me how to go about commissioning a painting the first thing i would think was that you have to have a lot of money. but that is actually not necessarily true. read on... michelle armas, painter of the prettiest thing i own: and i worked together on it. no...i didn't paint it. but she asked me loads of questions. easy ones too, like "what are your favorite colors?" and "where is the painting going to go?" and "can you send me some inspiration pics of pretty things you love?" so far commissioning a painting was pretty easy! there is also a questionnaire with fun questions like, "what's your favorite movie?" and "what would your hogwarts house be"? ok not the last one, but fun like that. (btw gryffindor. duh) anyway.. here are some of the inspiration photos i sent: once michelle gets all the info she needs she gets to work.. here are her words: "So all of this info comes to me and this is how it works: I study the inspiration photos, in Jenny's case they were sophisticated spaces that felt light, and grounded at the same time. The composition of the photos, one of the reasons I knew she was drawn to those particular photos, was very balanced and calming, also the colors are clear and true. I take into consideration the conversation we had, and the answers to the questionnaire. It tells me what kind of personality I am dealing with. First I drew out a composition with graphite right onto the canvas, then I just start mixing paint and layering over and over until I am happy with the way the painting looks. I started with a soft gray to figure out how the eye would move around the painting, then I laid on the thick brown paint and texturized it with a spray bottle. Next the yellow and lavender, and lots of white. I don't think about where each stroke will go, but I stop and stand back from the painting a lot, and stop and sit and look at it for a while, so I can get new ideas all the time as I paint." you can see this process on her own blog. it's actually really cool and i highly recommend looking at it. as far as shipping goes this is what she says about it: "Turn around time is usually two to four weeks, and shipping for a painting this size would be provided by Craters and Freighters. They are not cheep, but they build a custom crate from wood for your piece (you have to use a drill to get it apart) and then freight it on their own trucks right to your door, inside and anywhere you want it. Your painting will be in perfect condition! It comes signed and dated and titled on the back, as well as wired and ready to hang, and the edges painted any color you like (in this case white). For international clients, or for anyone who does not want to pay the shipping premium for receiving a stretched canvas, I have another service that many clients are taking advantage of! I will paint your piece (any size!) on a piece of un-stretched canvas. When you get it (it ships in a tube, usually shipping is no more than 50 usd even for large tubes going as far as Australia) you can either stretch it yourself, or have it done at an art shop. Either way, it will be much less expensive than the shipping charge for a large item. Also, stretching the painting yourself is actually very simple, and I have had several clients with no experience handle this on their own, with great results." and lastly, but probably the thing that most people are wondering, is cost. and for those of us where budget is an issue, michelle offers payment installments!! here is what she says: "I have many clients who prefer to pay in installments (remember lay away! HA). I let people pay in up to three payments, so it is easier to digest the whole cost. Also, I can make as many changes as you like, I do try very hard to give you exactly what you asked for, but sometimes I don't get it just right the first time. There is no limit to the changes I can make, and if you decide that I am just not giving you what you want, then I can always refund you, and use the painting I created for you in any way I like. This has never happened yet (knock on wood :)." so, commissioning art isn't so scary after all. but if commissioning just isn't for you bc you have no idea what you want or you are a recluse and are afraid to use your voice or your email fingers to discuss it then by all means visit her shop and buy something she has already painted. they are all extraordinary. but i can assure you it won't be as fun or as gratifying as creating a piece WITH the artist. i gotta tell you, i was blown away when i saw it in person. i stare at it. a lot. she managed to not only deliver the EXACT hues i wanted but she somehow captured my personality. maybe not literally but my essence is all over that painting. (ew) "jen'essence". or "j'nessence" so for real. treat yourself. you will love it. you will love the process too. and read michelle's post on how she starts a painting for you and see the transformation from blank canvas to piece of art. p.s. no, i am not profiting off of this post.