Basically what you're looking for is a good, solid foundation of existing paint that is stable and still strongly bonded to the car. Many times an original factory paint job, even after decades will meet these criteria.
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HUE-VALUE-INTENSITY. Hue: Without getting too technical, and to put things into laymen's terms, hue is just another word for color. For instance, grass and leaves are two variations of a green hue.
First consider the size of the painting. The more impressive the subject, the higher the emotions it appeals to, the bigger it is. Religious, mythological paintings are often huge - their massive energy makes you shiver. It is pretty understandable with figurative paintings like Rafael's "The Sistine Madonna", and more subtle with color field paintings of Mark Rothko. People are often overwhelmed with religious tremor in the presence of his artwork, and the size factors in. Also, the subject often calls for larger canvases - battle scenes need space and cannot be fitted into a smaller painting, while some subjects will get lost unless depicted in a smaller size.
Selecting a Shop. You should always get quotes from at least 2-3 different shops near you. This will give you a chance to not only compare prices, but to also check out the quality of work each shop has done. Ask to see cars they've just painted. Look for orange peel or excessive overspray. Do they mostly do insurance work or do they paint entire cars also? What types of cars are they working on? A shop that sprays nothing but old beaters probably doesn't inspire as much confidence as one that does insurance work for the local Lexus or Mercedes dealer.
Step four: the key to a finished looking painting is to build it just like a house...and by that I mean layers. Paint it in the reverse order in which the eye sees it to make it three-dimensional. By this I mean paint what's farthest from the eye first, and build layer upon layer towards the eye. In other words, do the background first because it should be the farthest from the eye, then add the objects on top of that, and then add the shadows to complete the look. Ultimately it's common sense. If you paint a bowl of fruit, the bowl and fruit need to sit on top of that background, much as it would in real life.
If you have large holes or cracks in a wall purchase a small can of vinyl repair paste. The reason I prefer it over regular wall Spackle is that after it dries it is much harder and sands easily. You can even use it for minor wood repair in a pinch.