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The Fine Art of a Private Commission

This is the story of a very personal commission created by Brent Lynch for a family. Many people are daunted by the idea of commissioning a work of art, but it truly is a very special process that allows you to be a part of the creation of a work of art. And the final result is truly original and unique to you and your space. This is where it all began with Robin…

“Hi Ida, the reason I am contacting you is that Dave and I have moved into a new home and we are looking for the perfect piece of art for our living room. It is the focal wall of the home and needs something really special. I will attach some photos of the room and if you have any ideas please pass them along!”

  • “Robin, Wow!! I already have an idea or two! Let me send you some images tomorrow latest. It is a big space and can handle a large painting. Would you be against a commission, if we found the perfect artist?”

  • “Ida, You had another artist from the island? I remember loving his stuff. And yes I am open to a commission.”

  • “Robin, Yes! Brent Lynch is from Vancouver. A work by him on that wall would be stunning!! His dramatic landscapes from up North are amazing. Will send you some images of his work and also ask him what he has currently in his studio that would fit the wall dimensions well, and we can go from there! All of his compositions are dramatic, his paintings for this reason are so riveting, and a piece in your main room, of a landscape, seascape or mountain-scape, would be killer! You can always give me an idea of what you like and the perfect dimensions for your space and I can email him and at least give you an idea of price, and we can go from there.”


  • “Hi, Ida! I have had some time to look through Brent’s website. OMG. Incredibly beautiful and I think we have hit the mark!!. Can you find out if his “Lost Lake” is still available? My eyes are getting bigger than my budget . . . but wow does that ever resonate!!”

  • “Robin, that Lost Lake is incredible. Magical and so rich with storytelling possibilities! That would make a stunning focal painting for the room. Maybe a little brighter palette, and at the proper size. Just an idea!”

  • “Ida, a seascape is really the right “fit”. But I also am one that likes to be unconventional. I am still super awestruck on the Lost Lake piece. We have an “off the grid” cabin at a Lake. It’s where we make family memories.”

  • “Robin, a large Lost Lake piece as the focal point of that wall would be stunning. It could be vertical. But the storytelling, the drama, the composition would be amazing. It’s not my home, but I really feel some figures in that main focal wall would be dramatic. Please consider a Lost Lake type painting for that wall! It would be so calming and narrative at the same time.”

  • “Ida, I agree! The space needs figures. It is entirely where my thoughts are at! So let’s go for a Lost Lake inspired commission!”

Brent Lynch Painting
THE INSPIRATION: LOST LAKE oil on board 18 x 24 inches
  • “Robin, I spoke to Brent and he wants to “revisit” this painting, which means it will rock! We can incorporate any colors you want, feel, time of day. Brent is your man, a complete professional and one of the best artists I know. You will not be disappointed.”

  • “Ida, I’m going to send some photos of our lake property. I don’t want an “exact” replica but I think he’ll get a feel.”

  • “Robin, Ok, great! Brent says that he could get started right away, that he would want to speak to you on the direction of the figures etc. but it would be a week for sketches and then a couple of weeks for the final, and that he thinks he could get it done by the 3rd week in December. Let me know if you have any questions.”

  • “Ida, I am very thankful for your help in making this happen. It just feels so right!!”


  • At this point the final details were worked out with an agreement that included dimensions, medium, subject, price, payment terms, and time frame. So artist, client and myself, as middleman, were all on the same page. And then Robin and Brent were introduced...

“Dear Robin, I am very pleased too and thank you for choosing me for your commission. I was very happy to hear you liked ‘Lost Lake’ and that that image would become the inspiration for your commission. I understand you have lake property. Ida sent a few photos of your wharf in evening summer sunlight ( and a great looking Beaver!)It is no mystery why you ‘get’ ‘Lost Lake’

The composition will work either way, vertical or horizontal, so if I may suggest we do some initial drawings and then decide. In any event, I have two pics of the lake along with your daughters, beautiful. I could use a few more characters to tell our story; perhaps you and your husband? I leave that to you. The more reference pics you can send the better.

The first stage will be some pencil drawings that will be determined figure gestures and arrangement of elements you wish to see in the painting.

After your feedback, there is usually one more ‘go around’ with the changes.

Once we determined the elements and composition I will paint a small water-colour version of the final to give a sense of movement, mood, and color. This study will give us a better idea of the final, however, it is an evolutionary process so every stage becomes better than what went before.

When all the pre-studies are approved I’ll begin the final. I will send jpegs of the painting at various stages.

There is no doubt you will have more questions so please feel free to call or e-mail anytime.

Regards, Brent


“Hi, Robin,

Attached are some initial rough drawings to start our conversation about the final painting.

Please study these drawings with figurative gesture and character only. Body language is important in capturing your family members. It’s what this image is all about. The painting will not be a formal portrait but I would want it to ring true. The final figures will be impressionistic as we agreed.

Feel free to suggest changes with this in mind. Clothing is important too…what would everyone be wearing in our endless summer vision?

In regard to the composition refer to the first image/file ‘Lake Wharf.’

The proportions of the drawing represent the final canvas. The background may seem a little vacant but to create the mood will be important.

I look forward to your response, Brent”

Now the conversation continues...with comments from Robin on the initial sketches and how her family is portrayed in them.

“Brent, LOVE LOVE LOVE wow!!!

This is fantastic. You have nailed the 4 center figures in particular. Even the clothing is perfect.

Quinn needs some work. First, she would never sit still ever. She is a girl in perpetual movement!! What would you think about putting a fishing rod in her hand? A more animated figure would be far more appropriate

Danielle also is a bit too “elegant” – or maybe too refined somehow. She would be looking up at her Dad and be laughing. That is how I picture her. Let me see if I can find some reference material for you to fill this out better.

We are off to a great start!!!!” Thanks! -Robin”


“Excellent Robin!

Nice pic of Quinn and fishing is a good idea, thanks. Danielle and her Dad connecting would be good as they are already within eyesight of each other. We’ll give Dani a more energetic pose.

I do think that the scene should have an overall serene mood to it. The family enjoying the last light of a long dog day of summer…the color comp will emphasize the lighting and will convey that.

In saying that your suggestions would not be inconsistent.

Talk soon, Brent”

Brent went "back to the drawing board" as they say, and revisited the figures of Danielle and Quinn and sent sketches with the changes made, and also the most amazing watercolor sketch in order to give Robin an idea of the color palette and the mood that he imagined for this piece.


Approved sketch by the client


At this point Brent began the final painting at the agreed dimensions of 30 x 40 inches, and kept Robin and myself up to date with progress photos.

stage one of the painting

“Hi, Robin,

Please find a series of photos of our artwork. The paint is pretty wet so the pics won’t be great but, will give you a good idea of its development. The first pic illustrates the process and paint application. The 2nd pic is where we are at; about 3/4 completed.

The background, in the completed art, will appear like a tapestry of broken late daylight with the suggestion of trees etc. The figures will be more articulated. I will complete the painting in the next few days and will send you images of it. If you have any concerns or detail etc, please let me know.

Talk soon, Brent”



oil on canvas 30 x 40 inches

Though this painting was originally intended for over the fireplace in the living room, as the painting evolved and the colors emerged Robin changed her mind on the location for this piece. It is now hanging in her dining room, and with the colors in that room and the intimacy of this painting- a portrait of her family, she felt the dining room was a more appropriate spot.

As she wrote me...

...“Once it went in the dining room it was never leaving. I ADORE it! And “family” is the message which is always how you want to share a meal.”

"Being able to work with Ida and Brent has been an honour. Art is such a personal expression of your heart and it is such a joy to see our hearts in this painting. Art is also forever and it is extraordinary to have a timeless piece that will always remind me when our house became a home." -Robin

About Brent Lynch

Brent Lynch has enjoyed a distinguished and award-winning career in the arts for over 25 years. His early works ranged from large-scale murals to books, magazine and record cover illustrations. He was commissioned to produce numerous paintings for publications featuring national and international events including sports, tourism, opera, dance and theater productions. The power and energy of Brent’s figurative and landscape works are a result of his need to draw and compose from life. Whether life drawing in the studio or painting in the field, it is the immediate, raw connections with the subject that are the cornerstone of his work. For two decades, Brent has been inspired by the Mexican people and their land. He continually strives to capture the energy, light, and spirit of the Baja with his dynamic use of color and daring compositions. Brent’s original and published works are found in numerous corporate, government and private collections.



Alegria and her portrait by Brent Lynch. Completed during an event at the gallery last year. (ummm, still so jealous.) -Ida


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