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.