Column: Selecting the right artist for commissioned painting


Recently, a spirited friend requested a commission for a realistic painting of him and Fido, the lab. After wondering if something more suggestive/modern would be appropriate (realism is not my strength), I kindly declined. Naturally, I offered him a referral.

How to commission art

Are you searching for a painting that speaks directly to you or includes a very specific subject? Commissioning a piece might be the solution. Deb Slack, a Carmel artist and one of the three owners of Art On Main, 111 West Main St. in Carmel, offers a few guidelines on how to proceed:

  • What’s the subject matter? Any pictures/examples?
  • Size matters. Do you prefer portrait or landscape? The anticipated location of the painting will drive this.
  • Do you have a color palette preferred? Earth tones, for example, and are we trying to echo any colors in a wallpaper or fabric?
  • Budget?
  • Style preferred. Realism, abstract, modern, impressionism, etc.
  • Does it need framed, or will you manage that? Or a gallery-wrapped canvas?

Deb offers an initial consult, abbreviated rough sample, mid-painting viewing as well as delivery and installation! Randall Scott Harden and Kim Greene are the other gifted owners of the gallery. Stop in and enjoy their work!

Pam Newell, a crazy-talented artist, offers an astute observation. Verify that you dig the artist’s style and that the subject matter is in their wheelhouse. Do they paint it often and enjoy it? Makes sense to me. Pam’s the real deal.


For me, an emotional connection exaggerates the best. It builds connection. Immediately, the colors and subject matter resonate.

Drink the wine. Eat the cake. Buy the art.

And … pet the dog.