|'Spring Fantasy' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
It seems as though everyone has a commission nightmare story. Hearing them is enough to keep many artists from doing commissions. I have had some close calls but no real nightmares. Many of them could have been prevented. I have learned through experience. I have truly been enriched by each commission painting I have completed.
Along the way I have developed ground rules for doing a commission. The rules have helped make the process rewarding and positive.
Tip #1 Paint what you love and what you love to paint. I have gotten some strange requests. Some things were not in my comfort zone. Some of them I tried but made it clear to the client that I would try but not promise. Now I only accept commissions for a subject that I LOVE to paint. I do my best work when I am enjoying the subject. (and if the commission falls through I have a paining that I actually enjoy)
|'Meadow Study #1' 5x7|
|'Meadow Study #3' 5x7|
|'Meadow Study #4' 5x7|
The Queen Annes Lace paintings in today's post are small quick studies I did for a potential commission. The client sent me photos of the space where the painting will go. That gave me a better understanding of what might work. She gave me a rough idea of her wants....the four studies now give her a visual aid to help her decide on the details of the larger painting.
Tip #5 Make sure the client gives you the correct painting size. It happens a lot. Especially for larger paintings. A client will tell me the size they need for the space and ask for a painting that size. They don't remember to take into consideration the final size after framing. I know now to ask them if they have a frame size in mind so we can choose the best actual painting size for the space.
Painting commissions has opened up a new world of painting opportunities. I have worked with wonderful people who truly enjoy my work. I love doing commissions as long as they follow my five tips!
|The rejected paintings|
Update to this post. I am sharing this post from the archives because I just had my first commission fail! I didn't follow my own advice. The client asked me for me to reproduce some of my paintings exactly. That was the red flag. I told them that I was an artist not a copy machine and would paint something similar but it couldn't be exact. The results were not up to their expectations. Her loss is my gain but from now on I will trust my instincts and turn down commissions that don't fit my guidelines.