Frequently Asked Questions

What’s involved with commissioning Sam to do an original painting?

All you have to do is ask! The first step is talking to Sam about what you have in mind. The best paintings result from letting Sam take your required elements (your airplane flying over water, for example) and running with it. You’re paying for his creativity and vision, and he’s pretty good at making the finished painting convey the feeling and kind of detail you want. Prices vary and there’s quite a wide range. You can commission a good-sized colored pencil original for $2,000. Acrylic paintings range from about $5,000 to $15,000, depending on size and complexity. Just to give you an idea: a 15″ x 30″ painting with your airplane in the sky and clouds for background would usually be $5,000. For a larger painting with more planes, people, hangars, homes, etc., the cost goes up. (It make sense because it will take Sam longer to paint it.) You get sketches to approve before Sam goes ahead with the actual painting. A deposit is required when the commission is accepted to reserve your place on Sam’s commission list. A second payment is due when the sketch is approved, and the balance is due before the original is shipped. Each of three payments are usually a third of the total cost. Go to our Commissions page for more information. Better yet, call Mindy at Lyons Studio, 863-644-5010, and ask her anything you’d like to know.

How long does it take Sam to complete a painting?

The answer really varies. Some paintings require a good deal of research. Some have many different elements, so completing them is very time-consuming. Others come together with less effort. The best answer ranges from a few weeks to a few months.

Why would I buy a Sam Lyons print already framed?

Framing enhances artwork considerably. Even paintings as beautiful as Sam’s benefit from a well-designed frame. Think of it like this … ice cream is good all by itself, but put some chocolate syrup, whipped cream and nuts on it — and you have an incredible treat. We take considerable time picking out the best colors and textures for the mats and frames for each particular Sam Lyons painting. The mood of the piece is also taken into account. Some prints also come with patches and plaques to make your selection a true masterpiece. Our framing is to the highest standards; all our mats, Foamcore backing, and museum mounts are acid free. This ensures your artwork investment is protected for a long time. The best reason to buy your print already framed? When it arrives, all you have to do is hang it on the wall!

I've heard the term "giclee." What is it?

The word is pronounced “gee-clay” (or close to that) and it defines a print that was produced one at a time, as opposed to a continuous print run of hundreds of prints. You have better color and quality control with giclees and they are generally more expensive than mass-produced prints. At Lyons Studio, we always try to give you extra value for your money so right now we don’t charge extra for our prints that are giclees. Sam’s earlier prints were produced by a print publisher. Now he mostly produces the prints one at a time on a professional printer he has at the Studio. The inks used are archival inks and are supposed to last 100 years. (We’re not sure who can vouch for that!)

What is a Print on Canvas?

Many of our paper prints are also available as a Limited Edition Print on Canvas or POC for short. The key thing to know is that the finished piece is on canvas so it has a texture to it. All of our POCs come complete with a linen liner and wood frame to complement the image. No glass is used. Your artwork has the look of an original painting for a considerably less price. Sam personally signs and numbers each Print on Canvas. The majority of our Prints on Canvas are produced individually by Sam. The ones produced in that way are called Giclee. The ink used in the printing process is called 100-year archival ink. That means that the print will outlast us all!

What does the abbreviation "AP" stand for?

That’s what we call an Artist Proof. An Artist Proof print doesn’t look any different than a regular Limited Edition, it’s just numbered differently. If the Limited Edition has 300 prints, there would  probably be 30 APs. (It’s generally 10 percent of the number of Limited Edition.) This status is noted on the print. Sam would number it, for example, 3/30AP. Collectors prefer APs because their value increases even more than a Limited Edition as time goes by. Also, there are fewer of them so, again, that makes them more valuable.

What does the abbreviation S/N mean?

That stands for “signed and numbered.” All Limited Edition prints are signed and numbered. Besides the signature already appearing on the print from when Sam signed the original, Sam signs each one personally. He also assigns each print a particular number. For example, you might see 52/300 penciled in the lower right or left hand corner of a print. Some people prefer low numbers; some people collect a particular number because it holds a special meaning for them.

What it the difference between a Limited Edition print and an Open Edition?

A Limited Edition print is restricted to a certain number. For example, we had 300 prints made from the original painting of “Anticipation,” which features a Piper Cub in the early morning mist. Once they’re gone, that’s it. There is no limit to the number of Open Edition prints of a particular painting. That’s why Limited Edition prints cost more than Open Editions: there are fewer of them. It goes with the belief that rare objects are more valuable.

What is a remarque?

That term refers to a change Sam makes on a print (or Print on Canvas) to personalize it. For example, he can usually change the N# of an airplane. Many people like to have their own N# on the plane in a print if it looks like their plane. Sam can also often change the name on a sign, like in “Yellow Lure” or “Field of Dreams.” Sometimes he can change the color of an aircraft stripe or alter the plane is some minor way. For example, on “Cross Country Champ” he’s taken off the navigation lights for a customer. We try to accommodate any special request, but Sam can only change a print up to a point. For example, he can’t change the entire color scheme of an airplane. There is a charge for remarques. N# changes and other typical remarques are usually $75. Always feel free to ask if you have a remarque request. Just call Lyons Studio and talk to Sam or Mindy. You’d be amazed all the ways you can personalize a print to make it even more special to you.

I have an airplane just like the one in Sam's print. Can he change the N# on the plane for me?

Yes, in most cases. That’s called a remarque and the charge is usually $75. There are also other ways Sam can personalize a print. Feel free to make a request by calling Lyons Studio. We’ll do everything possible to make you happy with your purchase.

Where do Sam’s ideas come from?

We put that question to Sam and he said, “I get inspired all different ways. A lot of times air shows are a great source for ideas. I’ll take pictures at Oshkosh or Sun ‘n Fun, for example, of planes that I love and that gives me an itch to do a painting. When I lived on a grass air strip, I saw planes all the time and sometimes a particular scene grabs me. It could be the way the light hits or the mood of the day or the feeling a certain plane gives off.” There have been cases where a customer’s repeated requests eventually spur Sam to paint a particular airplane. “Tuskegee Ace” is a perfect example of that.

Is Sam a pilot?

You bet! He got his private pilot-glider license while in college. (We won’t say how long ago that was, but it’s been a while.) In 1995 he completed his single engine land add on. He flies as often as he can — but never often enough! Sam has owned two  J-3 Cubs, a vintage Stinson 108-3, and a Hatz open cockpit biplane over the years.

What's Sam's favorite painting?

That’s a tough one. Sam said, “It’s hard to name just one, because I have deep affection for so many of them. What can I say, I like what I paint! Not to dodge the question, but my favorite is usually the one I’m working on at the time.” A general answer would be that Sam loves painting a picture that tells a story and makes the viewer feel something.

In what medium does Sam usually create his pictures?

Sam works in mostly in acrylics and occasionally in colored pencil. “Red Bird” is a wonderful example of a picture created in colored pencil. Sam likes acrylics for their versatility … and the acrylics are a lot easier to clean off his brushes than oil paint!