Beth Meadows

Commission Woes (and Joy!)

"commission", "painting", "thankful"B5 Comments
If an artist tells you they like making commissioned pieces, they need money, and they are lying.

The problem with commissions is that they turn making art into making money, which can be depressing for the creatively inclined. Obviously, most artists would rather a buyer be interested in what they have already made than making something with perimeters from someone else.

A commission also means pleasing the buyer during the art-making process, but we (artists) are plagued by the fact that we're on a different wavelength than others. We've embraced that we're off beat, and trying to please a normal person with enough money to commission a painting can be overwhelming.

I know I like this penguin riding a shark in the middle of a field, but will they?

This is why I never went into graphic design. Yes, it might have meant worrying less about finances, but it would have also meant being a slave to the client over and over again. Not to mention I'm technologically stunted.

The Eaton's Home
acrylic on artist panel
18 x 24"

Of course, after all this complaining, I have to say I'm incredibly thankful for the commissions that have come my way. My last commissioned painting of 2010 was how I bought my family's Christmas presents, after all, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome or the reaction I received from it.

It was a painting of my friends' home in North Knoxville, a Birthday/ Christmas surprise from Lesley Eaton (of Peppered Paper) to her husband Laurence.

And so I've found a commission I like: painting people's historic homes. For one, working from a photograph is less stressful because it's straightforward; there's no risk of putting something in that they won't like. Two: I know they like my style going into it, so I can relax about making it my own. Three: It's exciting to be a part of making something that is so personal to a family, and in the Eaton's case, even more so because this is their first home which I know they've put a lot of work into. Four: I like knowing I'm documenting an old structure. I see it as a way to preserve heritage.


And just to clarify. Yes! I would love to do a commissioned painting for you, as long as you like penguins riding sharks in fields.