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Let's Talk About Pricing for Commission Paintings

How much does it cost to commission a painting?

A typical oil painting portrait may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Several factors influence the price of a commission painting.

Factors affecting the price of custom artwork include:

  • Size

  • Complexity

  • Subject

  • Materials Used

  • Artist Expertise

  • Extras

As an artist specializing in original oil paintings, I often get asked about my commission pricing. The truth is, each piece is unique, and consideration of these elements ultimately determines the final cost.

Commission Portrait Painting by Raleigh, NC Artist Katie Peña

Size of the Painting

Size is a significant determinant; larger pieces require more materials and time. A smaller portrait will generally be less expensive than a large landscape. However, the opposite can be true if the size of a painting is too small. Very small paintings require finer details and are often more complex, which increases the final cost of the painting. When working with clients, I usually recommend going no smaller than 8” x 10” for their custom painting.


Commission Sunflower Painting by Artist Katie Peña

Complexity is another key factor. Intricate details or elaborate backgrounds increase the time and skill needed, affecting the price. A client recently asked me to paint a pet portrait based on the photo of a family member’s beloved dog. In the background of the photo was a blanket, featuring a very busy pattern, which occupied most of the frame around the subject. This complex background composition would have pushed the final cost of the painting outside of my client’s preferred budget. However, appreciating that the dog was cherished in the family, I suggested replacing the photo background with an attractive nondescript abstract background, thus lowering the cost of the painting and communicating with my client to highlight the subject in a more poetic light, while still working with my client’s vision.

Subject of the Painting

The subject matter also plays a role. A simple still life can cost less than a detailed portrait due to the varying levels of skill and effort required. 

High-Quality Fine Art Oil Paints

Materials Used

The materials I use for my commission paintings are sourced from top-of-the-line suppliers. Using quality paints, canvas, and tools helps to ensure longevity and a timeless allure to every piece.

Artist Expertise

As a seasoned artist, with decades of experience under my belt, I’ve meticulously crafted a pricing structure that reflects the dedication and craftsmanship poured into each stroke of my brush. Along with elite training, my professional background and years of dedication to honing my craft ensures that I consistently deliver unparalleled quality in my art.

Custom Framed Painting of a Bulldog Sleeping by Raleigh, NC Artist Katie Peña


Other factors may influence the total price of your custom art as well. These include shipping costs, taxes, and insurance. I also discuss framing options with my clients because selecting the right frame for your art has the power to elevate the aesthetic with another level of depth and emotion. If you choose to have your piece framed for you, the cost of framing your art will be added to the final price.

Finally, it's important to remember that commissioning a piece of art is a collaborative process. I work closely with clients to understand their vision and ensure they are satisfied with the final result. My goal is to create a masterpiece that brings joy and beauty to your space. If you're interested in commissioning a painting, please don't hesitate to reach out. I look forward to creating a custom piece of art that exceeds your expectations!


*One More Note*

Some artists take a more transactional approach, with little communication between the client and artist. They may offer their services at a lower cost—and this is reflected in the final product—but the client often feels less of a connection with the finished work. Other artists offer a more personal approach—talking with the client in detail and getting to know the subject and emotion behind the painting before even setting their brush to the canvas—in order to truly capture the client’s vision. 

Transparency and communication are at the core of my pricing philosophy, allowing for open dialogue and collaboration throughout the commissioning process. I strive to tailor each experience to the unique vision and preferences of my clients, ensuring that the final creation surpasses expectations!

Interested in working with Katie?



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