Comfort in the discomfort

I get many different kinds of requests for custom paintings, from all over Canada and the U.S. primarily.  Trying to categorize them is difficult, as they really run the gamut in terms of subjects.



Some requests feel like they paint themselves. Portraits of grandparents, cute dogs and most celebrity requests are just plain fun. 

Johnny Virus

Most of the time, I have great reference photos to work from and I can complete the project within a relatively short time frame.


132 Beaverglen Close

Sometimes clients want a painting done from a photo that offers very little in terms of detail.  A beautiful family that lost a home in the 2016 wildfire had no shots of their beloved house after 30 years of living in it.  The only photo they had was the Google street view. My challenge was to create something beautiful out of something that was very utilitarian and lacking in detail.  There are other times when favourite moments are contained in images that are extremely pixelated or damaged with wrinkles and scratches.


The requests that make me pause are the ones with the most detail. Paintings with multiple subjects in them can be incredibly challenging and work intensive.  While they require a lot of patience and attention, they can grab peoples' attention.  The one above is in the lobby of our local UNIFOR office.


Newfoundland Outport

It would be so easy to only accept commissions of subjects that are super comfortable for me.  However, I wouldn't grow as an artist if I only did the things that were easy and comfortable.  That's why I always consider the requests that are a little out of the ordinary.  One of the recent examples would be the Newfoundland Outport scene.  Jennifer had the high bid on a gift certificate that was on auction to raise money for the United Way.  She asked if I would consider doing a landscape scene that would remind her of home.  She knew this was not something that I normally do, but trusted that I could make it happen.  Jennifer was very patient with me.  By the time I returned to the project, after having set it aside for a number of months, it all came together beautifully.

I have projects in the queue out in the studio that fall into all of these categories.  If you have something in mind that you would like me to consider, I would suggest reviewing the commission rates by clicking here.  The rates have increased slightly for the first time in two years.  That said, we still try to keep them as reasonable as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to get in touch?

My favourite form of communication is through the Russell Thomas Art Facebook Page.  It is my favourite because the conversation we have and any attachments that you send are always right there, no matter what device I am using. 

If you're not on Facebook, then the next best way to get in touch is by email:

Some people text using my cell number: 780-881-3752.

Others reach out by private message using Instagram ( or Twitter (@russellthomasart).

How long is the wait time?

That is a tough question to answer.  Some people have been waiting from well over a year.  That said, if we agree on a delivery date, I do my level best to stick to it.  If I can't meet your first request in terms of timing, I will always provide alternatives.

Do I need to get the painting framed?

The simple answer is no.  I always paint over the sides of the canvas and install hanging hardware.  However, if budget is not an issue, getting a painting framed can make it pop even more. 

Tammy recently had a custom frame made for a painting I did of Major Perry Cadegan.  Oh my goodness. What a difference.

Can paintings get shipped?

Absolutely!  We have successfully shipped art all over the world.  We build a custom box for every original work that comes out of Birdsong Studio.  The cost of shipping is generally very reasonable, ranging from $25 to $100 depending on the size of the package and its destination.


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