C O M M I S S I O N S
T E S T I M O N I A L S
BRENÉ BROWNE – Researcher and NY Times best selling author of “Daring Greatly”
“I can’t tell you how much I LOVE my painting. It makes me happy every time I see it. Sometimes Steve and I just stand in front of it and find new things to fall in love with – it’s like treasure hunting.”
ALISON WHITTAKER – Allied ASID, Certified Interior Designer
“I wanted to let you know that the art commission for the Fikes’ was perfect! and I know they are thrilled. Thanks so much for putting so much into this.”
LIZ and TOM HALE – Founders, Backroads Adventure Travel Company
“Our experience working with Nick was truly fabulous. Throughout the entire process we felt that he was eager to produce a work of art that matched our vision. He came to our home to see where the painting would be hung, asked good questions, and was a keen listener. This collaboration lent itself to a successful outcome – we love our painting and feel that it is truly a reflection of who we are and what we had in mind.”
BILLY and KATHLEEN VOLKMANN – Art Collectors
“The experience of working with Nick on a commissioned painting for our home was fun and exciting. As the painting took shape Nick was very comfortable and experienced at listening to our feedback and then adjusting the work. It worked out very well and we love having a Nicholas Wilton painting in our home.”
GEORGE LOENING – Art Collector
“Wow! I just want you to know how happy you have already made me. It is strong and vibrant but it does not impose itself. It is structured and yet it is free in the way that organic things grow in organized chaos. It is subtle and sophisticated with layers of intelligence. Its forms and colors have a great dialogue between them and now also with their surroundings. I look forward to spending the next few decades admiring this wondrous piece.”
MARK and DIANE VINEIS – Founders, Mondo Educational Publishing
THE COMMISSION PROCESS
Nicholas has an innate ability to listen, articulate, and then create artwork that matches the particular needs of his clients. Unlike a lot of artists who would prefer little or no input from those commissioning art, Nicholas sees the back and forth between the client and himself as integral to not only the process, but the ultimate success of the commission. Understanding and finding common ground with those who appreciate his work makes the process of a commission collaborative and memorable.
Another aspect to Nicholas’ skill at sleuthing out exactly the solution for his clients is the preliminary sketches he provides. Much of the creative work is done before the painting is even begun. Whether this commission is for a residence or a corporate client, this preliminary stage provides time to understand the specific needs of the client. At this stage, Nicholas will create a sketch to give the client a basic preview of the color tones and basic composition of the finished painting. The client can offer feedback and adjustments if they are so inclined.
Nicholas reassures all who work with him that, “If you like the sketch, and you must really like it as much as I do, then you will absolutely love the finished painting.” Never, in the many years of doing commissions, has Nicholas ever had a client not love the finished painting. It just doesn’t happen. Partly this is because of the collaborative and preliminary stages Nicholas employs in all his commissions.
Below are the steps Nicholas takes when commissioned. This following example was a recent large commission for the family of Sara and Andrew Fike who reside in Los Gatos, California. On most commissions, Nicholas usually works in tandem with an interior designer or art consultant. Alison Whittaker was the designer on this particular project.
STEP 1 LISTENING
After talking with the interior designer, looking at fabric samples, and actually visiting the family in their home and listening carefully to the client, Nicholas can begin to get a sense of what specifically the clients desire in the final piece. In this case, the painting was going in the new large family play room. There were already deep red tones in the furnishings and coverings and these ended up being echoed in the final painting. This painting was going to be placed in a casual, active place where their young kids could play and watch TV. There also was a gigantic salt water aquarium in the home. This was not in a corner, but instead was centrally placed, suspended, bringing movement and alive color to the center of the living area. The family as well as the home had a playful, warm, inviting feeling and this became the starting point Nicholas drew upon when exploring possible directions for the final painting
STEP 2 PRELIMINARY SKETCH
Using paint, colored pencils, and digital samplings from existing paintings, Nicholas is able to explore a variety of directions. The sketches are done in color and in the same proportion as the commission.
Nicholas prepares multiple sketches until one emerges as the strongest solution. Not only does the client have to connect with it, but it firstly has to be engaging and aligned with the current areas of exploration Nicholas is involved with at that particular time.
In addition to emailing a color sketch to the client, Nicholas also writes and explains the basic thinking behind the direction. Sometimes at this stage there are several back and forths with adjustments, allowing the client to glimpse and offer feedback before actually seeing the final painting. Usually, there are little or no changes. Below is an excerpt from the email containing the thinking as well as the sketch sent to the Fikes during their project:
“Hi Sara and Andrew, I have attached a color sketch of my proposed direction for the painting. This is just a rough sketch. It will become WAY more subtle and WAY more sophisticated… I am making it quite strong, utilizing the reds in the room, but at the same time bringing in these more neutral contemporary natural shapes that pick up the furnishings – their colors and textures. Also, there is this very subtle but playful, colorful pattern of dots running throughout the painting. I liked this sense of play, activity as it is in your playroom and the children (as well as you) are going to be living in the environment. The painting is contemporary and has a sophistication but also this playful sense (I got the idea of the background dots when I opened up a brand new big box of Crayola crayons recently. The tiny crayon points of different colors just totally brought me back to being a kid!) I also thought the large grey forms floating in space feel like your amazing fish in the aquarium that is the centerpiece of your home… Anyway I hope you feel this fits with your family as much as i do – and not to worry if we need to change things around. I am excited about this painting!”
STEP 3 SKETCH APPROVAL
Sometimes it takes multiple tries and adjustments to get the direction just right. In the Fike’s project it took just one sketch. Here is their response to the sketch:
“Fun! I get a lot of email, but this one totally makes my week. What an unexpected treat. Sara and I love it. In fact, the more I look at it the more I like it. And the more small details that I find. Did you intentionally construct it so that the larger, open visual element would be aligned with the descent from the stair case? Loved that you considered the children, and the function of the room. You would have laughed at us holding the computer up while standing on the stairs. All that technology, and still forced to use my imagination.” – Andrew Fike
STEP 4 PAINTING IN THE STUDIO
This step is the actual creation of the painting. This process takes 3-4 weeks. It is crucial that the final painting goes significantly farther than the sketch. There is much discovery and the painting goes through many changes during this time.
Nicholas works on multiple paintings at the same time in the studio. Interestingly, he finds this way more efficient. One of the challenges of making Art is remaining objective, especially after working on one painting for days and days. In order to keep a more objective perspective, he finds it helpful to have many paintings all at various stages of completion in the studio. Often, something that occurs in one painting will solve the problem in another.
STEP 5 FINAL APPROVAL
Before any painting is shipped, a photograph of the finished painting is first shown to the client for approval. It is paramount that every client who works with Nicholas loves the end result as much as he does. Although it has never happened, if the painting needed to be adjusted this, of course, could be accommodated. Like most of Nicholas’s commissions, the Fike’s painting was very well received. Below is the response from the client:
“I wanted to let you know that the art commission for the Fikes’ was perfect! and I know they are thrilled. Thanks so much for putting so much into this!” – Alison Whittaker
The final painting
89 in. x 123 in.
Mixed media on panel
STEP 6 DELIVERY
Once approved, our shipper constructs a custom crate and the work is shipped to the client. Nicholas has shipped all over the world. All paintings are insured. We have never had any paintings damaged in shipping.
If you or your client are interested in commissioning Nicholas, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-533-8102