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Old 03-16-2001, 08:55 AM   #1
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Can someone please post a sample of their contract? I'm in the process of developing my own and was wondering how much detail to include.

Kent Curole
Full-time graphic artist (12 years), pt-time fine artist, trying to become a serious portrait artist and hopefully be listed here at Stroke of Genius soon.

Last edited by Cynthia Daniel; 06-27-2001 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 03-22-2001, 04:47 PM   #2
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Here is a copy of my contract. It might give a few ideas. Mainly it stipulates:

1) What the cost of the painting will be
2) The size the painting will be
3) When the painting was commissioned
4) Who the painting is for
5) How much I will recieve for the down payment.

Additionally the contract states that
1) The painting is mine, and I am responsible for damages to it, until I am paid
2) At the point I am paid the painting becomes your responsibility
3) The down payment is non-refundable.

My contract, first page:

THE GOAL of both the portrait artist and the client is the creation of a painting which is pleasing, captures the likeness and personality of the subject, and is able to stand on its own merits as a work of art.

* On the average it will take two to three meetings to produce a quality portrait. The first meeting can be either at the subjects home or at the studio of the artist. The basic composition of the portrait (size, pose, format, type of clothing,
tone, background, and lighting) is determined and a series of 60 to 100 photographs are taken. This photo session takes approximately 1

Last edited by Cynthia Daniel; 06-27-2001 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 03-22-2001, 09:07 PM   #3
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To copy from one(any) document to another:
After finding and highlighting the page you wish to copy, hit the "Contol" key at the same time you hit the "c" key, then find the place you want to copy to, ie, the cool board message box, then hit the "Control" and the "v" key at the same time. The entire highlighted area will appear. This is a lot more effective for sending pages of script, and you don't have to bother with text attachments, which seem to end up in some obscure file that I can never access.
(....see you in Chicago)
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Old 03-24-2001, 12:26 PM   #4
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You might find useful a book I used to prepare various documents for situations you might find yourself in as your career blooms! It is called Business and Legal Forms for Fine Artists, pub. by Allworth Press, New York. It has copies of all sorts of contracts, and a CD to create the forms on your computer. I found a few of them useful, but modified them considerably to fit my own needs. They're pretty wordy, but you might like to check them out. Sometimes they address issues you wouldn't have thought of in writing up your own contracts. Good luck to you!

Note from Administrator:
To check out the book and possibly order, click the title:Business and Legal Forms for Fine Artists

Last edited by Cynthia Daniel; 08-23-2001 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 08-22-2001, 07:24 AM   #5
Andrea Evans Andrea Evans is offline
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question Portrait contracts

I just read the forum message posted by Mary Reilly in July - Question about painting a casual acquaintance, model's release. The message was answered by Chris Saper. I have been using the book by Tad Crawford, Business and Legal Forms for Fine Artists, and there is a fairly simple model's release form to use. Is this a good form to use? Also, I had used the form "Contract to Commission an Artwork" from this same book for a client who was an attorney. Of course, she skimmed through all four pages, we signed, and I completed the portrait with no problems. However, before contracting for the next portrait, I read through this form and its accompanying explanations in the book so that I could explain it to my client. I could not easily understand it, and I did not know how to modify it to meet our specific needs.

That is when I found Peggy Baumgartner's contract posted on your forum site. Great simplicity! Wonderful! However, it did not contain a paragraph so that the artist will have permission to use the painting for portfolio, website, display, etc. Any suggestions? Many thanks for this opportunity to ask.
Andrea - portraitartist@hotmail.com

Last edited by Cynthia Daniel; 08-27-2001 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 12-16-2001, 01:56 AM   #6
Darla Dixon Darla Dixon is offline
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Peggy, a sincere THANK YOU! for the sample contract!

"Every life is a work of art; designed by the one who lives it."
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Old 01-02-2002, 08:33 AM   #7
Renee Brown Renee Brown is offline
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Peggy, Thank you so much for your sample contract!

My portrait shows start today, and I am printing out your contract as I write this.

Your contract is so professional and yet simple enough for the client to understand.

You saved me a lot of time. Thank you.

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Old 01-02-2002, 06:24 PM   #8
Stanka Kordic Stanka Kordic is offline
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Hi Andrea,

Look over my contract and see if you can use it. I address your concerns regarding borrowing for shows, etc.

Commissioned Portrait Agreement

This agreement is made by and between ________________________(Artist)
And _____________________________________(Patron) On _______________

Artist is engaged in the creation of a portrait with a distinctive style. Patron acknowledges he is familiar with Artist's style and quality of work, and desires to commission a new work of art from the Artist in accordance with the terms, conditions, descriptions and payment schedule noted below.

Title of Art :

Description :

Total Fee :

Payment Schedule: 50% Deposit -
Remaining balance (due upon approval, and delivery of Art) -
Terms and Conditions:

1. Signing this agreement indicates commission will commence. Deposit due at contract review.

2. Fees for extensive revision not the fault of the Artist shall be payable in addition to the original fee.

3. Patron agrees that Artist shall not have any liability or responsibility to protect, replace, insure, or have any concern about the
Finished Art once final payment has been made.

4. It is understood and agreed that the Artist shall use her best aesthetic judgement to create the art, using photos as a guide, as well as a sitting from life when possible.

5. Patron agrees that Artist is and at all times remains an independent artist and not an employee. Patron and Artist further agree that any work done by Artist is not a work for hire.

6. Patron agrees to pay for all expenses related to the completion of the portrait, which includes travel accommodations, shipping, and sales tax where required.

7. The Artist agrees to accept final payment only after final approval is made.

8. Patron may cancel this agreement at any time. In consideration of the Artist's effort, Patron agrees that the Artist may retain all fees paid to Artist prior and including the time of cancellation.

9. Patron agrees to allow the Artist the opportunity to exhibit the Finished Art if proof of insurance is given, and reasonable noticed allowed. It is understood that the exhibit would be not for profit.

10. It is understood that Patron is the owner of the original art only. All reproduction rights are retained by the artist.

11. This agreement shall be deemed made in the State of Ohio and Ohio law shall govern its interpretation. Any disputes arising out of this agreement shall be adjudicated in the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which the Artist and Patron agree shall have sole jurisdiction. Patron agrees to pay all reasonable collection costs, court costs, and attorney fees in conjunction with any award or judgement to Artist.

12. This agreement is binding on the parties, their heirs, assigns, and successors in interest, and shall survive the death or incapacity of either party.


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Old 01-21-2002, 08:44 PM   #9
Marta Prime Marta Prime is offline
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I noticed that in the original copy of your contract that I saved on my computer, you had a paragraph stipulating that no deposit was required. Then I noticed that you have revised your requirements to be a 40% deposit. I was just wondering if a problem prompted you to make the change, or if you just decided it was better business.

I remember when I was studying Helen Van Wyk. She made a living as a Portrait Artist, her terms were basicly "You like it you buy it, you don't like it you don't buy it." Although she said she never had a painting not accepted, her reasoning was that if a client didn't like a painting and you required them to forfeit the deposit, you would have a client with hard feelings....not a very good advertisement for you. And what are you out really, except some paint, other materials and some time?

On the other hand, I realize time is money, especially if you have a waiting list. Also, a firm commitment, money changing hands would tend to make a client go through with the contract, instead of getting wishy washy about it later.
I really feel torn on this subject by both concepts. I would like to hear other opinions on the subject.
Marta Prime
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Old 01-30-2002, 08:59 PM   #10
Peggy Baumgaertner Peggy Baumgaertner is offline
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I think you must be mistaken on my contract. I have always required a deposit on portrait commissions. I upped it from 33 1/3% to 40% a few years ago, but I have never had a contract where no down payment was required.

My initiation into the real world came very early in my career during one of my first commissions. I was commissioned to do a 3/4 portrait of a young girl. The parents brought the girl to my studio, I spent many hours and many rolls of film getting reference material (this was in the old days when I would changes dresses, lighting, and background on each commission...). When the parents didn't quite like the pose, I scheduled another photo shoot the next day with new dresses, etc. We then had the parents over to look over the photos and discuss the size of the portrait, to sign the contract, and to write the check for the down payment. First they downgraded the portrait from a 3/4, to a head and hands, to a head, and finally decided not to get the painting at all.

At the point that I asked for money, they balked. Had I asked for a down payment before I took the photos, they would have backed out then. Had I waited until I finished the painting, they would have back out then. As it was, I asked the parents to pay for the film and processing only, (not for the photo session), and they became incensed at my temerity and never spoke to me again.

Marta, I am trying to be delicate, but it does bother me more than a little when you refer to the artist, "...And what are you out really, except some paint, other materials and some time?" I have upbraided lay persons in the past for this kind of attitude, the "...Is this your hobby? How cute!..." referring to the profession to which I have dedicated myself for over 30 years.

Would you expect a doctor not to charge for his services because the patient wasn't happy with the outcome? After all, he is only out some cotton swabs, some bandages, and a little time... The same is true of lawyers, plumbers, teachers, or persons in any profession. All they have to offer is years of training, not anything of real value. (This is said tongue in cheek....) If we as artists do not respect our work and ourselves as professionals whose time is of value, then how can we expect the rest of the world to take us seriously? I have a contract, I charge a down payment, I hold others to the contract because that is what a professional does. In my workshops I tell my breaking-into-the-business students to "fake it 'til you make it." Conduct yourself in a professional manner; walk, talk, and act with the confidence of a great artist and one day you'll find that you are that person.

An additional note: I also worry about the financial hit some of my early clients might have had to come up with 100% of the money at the completion of the portrait...

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