Frequently asked questions
Q: Do your paintings come with a frame?
A: Yes. Paintings are given a ‘bespoke’ frame specifically designed to compliment the individual piece and show it to best advantage. My drawings are all framed in the same style with a darker moulding, and set within a deep double mount, again to compliment the work.
Q: I would like to commission a piece but have never done this before. Can you advise?
A: First step is to consider what you would like – is it a subject I have painted before or simply my style of painting that you like? Second – get in touch! I’m quite friendly and happy to discuss your requirements. It is worth bearing in mind that most artists would be happier to paint something new, rather than to repaint something they have already done. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider it if you had your heart set on it, more that a new, fresh piece is always a better painting, plus, a unique piece, rather than a revisit, would have better value long-term.
Q: I definitely want to commission a painting/drawing. What is the procedure?
A: First, we would talk about what you would like in detail. For a painting, I would produce a sketch design for your approval; for a drawing, show you the reference material I planned to use. We could discuss framing at this point (sometimes advisable if you have a specific colour scheme or décor to consider), or wait to see how the picture shapes up and what would suit it best. Next we would discuss time-scale, a matter which includes the unsavoury, but necessary, details regarding payment. It is usual to pay half of the total amount up front, before the work is begun, and the balance on completion. Once the down-payment has been received I can start work; I’ll give you updates on the way so you can see how your work is progressing and let you know when it is nearing completion.
Q: Are there prints of your work?
A: Yes – I am represented by Sally Mitchell Fine Art, a high-quality fine art print producer who can supply a number of my works as prints and in different sizes too. You will find a link to them on my ‘Links’ page.
Q: I love your style of painting but am really interested in a picture of my dog. Would you consider pet portraits?
A: Happily! I’ve completed horse and dog commissions in the past and many of my drawings are of ‘domestic’ rather than wild animals. I work best from my own reference material and it is always a better picture for having met the animal in question to get a feel for their character etc., so I would prefer to meet your beloved pet, where possible. Please be aware that if you are not local to me I will, understandably, have to factor in travel costs.
Q: I love your work and would like to visit you in your studio. Do you take part in the ‘Open Studios’ scheme?
A: I’m afraid not. My ‘studio’ is in fact a spare room at home, so it’s not really something I could consider. However, keep an eye on my website; I regularly update with details of shows and exhibitions, so there is often something going on to give you a chance to see more of my work.
Q: I’ve recently taken up painting and would love to be able to work like you do. Do you give tuition?
A: It’s not something I do on a regular basis, nor, I’m afraid, do I have the time to consider one-to-one tuition. I do occasionally tutor for the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society (MIWAS); it’s worth considering joining something like MIWAS or an art group local to where you live. It’s surprising just how much you can learn from being around like-minded people and then there are the friends you can make too.
Q: Artwork is expensive. Why is this?
A: I guess the short answer is – you wouldn’t commission designer clothes and expect to pay ‘off the peg’ prices, nor ask a craftsman to manufacture a beautiful and bespoke piece of furniture for the price you would see in a high street chain! I’m afraid quality comes with a price-tag. Every painting is unique, a complete one-off; heart, soul and a lifetime of experience goes into each one. It’s not simply a case of picking up a paintbrush and an hour later there’s a masterpiece. Each painting is a labour of love; it takes me weeks to produce even a small painting, days and more of research to find each element within. My work starts with an idea, but is never a pure copy of a single photograph, for example; where is the artistry in that? The longer I have been painting, the more I learn, the more developed my style becomes, the better my work. If I had to factor in the amount of time, effort and experience that has really gone into a single piece of artwork and cost it out the way many business people would, it really would be scary! Whilst a painting may seem expensive, it is not something that will devalue treated right, plus you get to own something that nobody else can. And besides, surely it is more important to enjoy a painting rather than to think purely in terms of its material value? You either love it and want it, or you don’t!