Saturday, May 18, 2013


By taking a commission, you are promising to create someone else's vision.  Do you know how hard that is?!  To give you an example, hubby took a commission to carve wooden beads that look like specific foods for her toddler at $2 each.  Not much pay for all that work, but he thought it would be fun.  The client thought the broccoli looked too much like cauliflower, the cheese had too many holes and the T-bone should be a rib-eye.  She thought the egg was too oval, the apple too round and the milk cartons weren't one gallon ones.  AAAAH!!!!  The frustration of it all!  You have to be really skilled to crawl into someone else's mind and 'see' their vision.  And they don't realize how much work is involved with it.  They want it at Wal-Mart prices.  Being an artist is hard enough without having to be clairvoyant as well...
On the other hand, I did a commission piece just recently, and it was a wonderful experience to be able to bring to life that person's vision.  When they choose the right artist that already has a similar vision, it really works out well, and is satisfying for both parties.  If you choose Rembrandt to paint like Jackson Pollock, you are not going to be happy with the results.  If your patron wants something that is out of your realm of art, speak up...tell them it isn't a good fit, even if you really want to try to force yourself into their vision.  Otherwise, you will be unhappy, they will be unhappy, and your reputation will suffer. I had to turn down a commission recently because the person loved my wildlife art, but wanted a portrait.  I am VERY uncomfortable with painting people.  I am comfortable with wildlife, and I knew that no matter how hard I tried, we were both going to be unhappy with the results.  Instead, we came to a compromise...when she wants a portrait of her dog, I am ready!

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