How a Commissioned Painting Comes to be… by Artist Charlsey Cartwright

I’m Charlsey Cartwright and I enjoy doing commission paintings of beings and things that my clients love. Although each commission painting has a unique story and development process, there are some basic steps that I usually follow. Here is a fairly predictable (and fun) set of steps I have followed with most of my Berts-Kitties - snapshots for Charlsey Cartwrights paintingscommissioned work:

  1. Initial Contact/Visit: Often prospective clients have seen my paintings and call me because they have an affinity to my style of art. This “self-selection” is great as it makes the initial meeting and commission process simpler and more relaxed.

The initial visit, then, focuses on me finding out what the prospective client is looking for. Do they want a painting for themselves or for someone else? Is the subject matter a pet, a house, etc.? What is the story behind the request for a commission? Are there good quality images that I can borrow for doing the commission or do we need to do a photo shoot? Does the client have strong wishes for what the painting should contain or do they want to be surprised by the final result. What is the client’s aesthetic? Do they have strong opinions that I need to be mindful of in the commission, e.g., strongly like/dislike certain colors Charlsey-Cartwright-PetPaintings-alice on bert©or imagery.

This meeting is where I can explain my creative process and the commission process in detail so that there will be less chance of any surprises and misunderstandings along the way.

If the client knows they want to proceed with the commission, it is at this meeting (or sometimes the second) that I will ask them to sign a contract stipulating the details we have agreed to, the cost and payment schedule, and a timeline for when I will have the work completed. A deposit is requested at the time of the contract signing.


Rosie snapshot Charlsey Cartwright

Rosie Painting by Charlsey Cartwright

  1. Second visit. Very often a second meeting is useful especially when I have taken photos and where the composition contains numerous subjects. By reviewing photos with the client, I get valuable feedback about how the client resonates with the material I will be working with. Reviewing the photos taken enables me to gauge the client’s sense of what shots are most natural and capture the personality of the pet, for example, or are most in keeping with what the client wants to capture. Sometimes I will even have some preliminary ideas to share with them at this meeting.

Malakoff kitty snapshots Charlsey Cartwright

Malakoff Kitties by Charlsey Cartwright

  1. Do the work! This is where through meditation, contemplation or whatever helps to get the creative juices flowing, I start sketching and envisioning a direction for the composition and elements I want to include. This process is usually a big surprise as the project will often lead to challenges, changes, roadblocks, breakthroughs, surprises and, ultimately, resolution. The creative process — especially where the subject matter is charged with deep meaning for the client — evokes strong feelings along the way. Expressing those feelings becomes an essential part of the success of the piece.
  1. Voila! When the painting is finished, I take photos or a scan of the piece and make arrangements for the delivery to the client. This is a very exciting time!Penny's Children painting by Charlsey Cartwright
About Charlsey Cartwright

I'm Charlsey Cartwright Artist, Painter and Sculptor. I am inspired by art and nature and the world around us.


  1. Lovely artwork. I like hearing how your commissions come together

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