|'Majesty'. 11x14 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
You either love them or hate them. That seems to be the consensus regarding painting commissions. Some artists welcome commissions and enjoy creating custom work. Some prefer to steer clear of them. I happen to love them. I just finished a nine painting commission project which has been a a lot of fun.(today's blog paintings) I have developed some simple rules to guide me through the commission process. This ensures that the entire process is stress free and enjoyable.
Whether you are a full time artist or just painting for fun sooner or later you will be asked to paint something special for someone. Having some rules or guidelines in place will make it easy! Here are mine.
- No Down Payment. I like to keep things simple. I don't have a lot of requirements. I don't ask for a down payment before I start a painting because I will only paint something that others might want to purchase. In other words it cannot be so unique or bizarre that it would never sell. I have done many commissions and only one time was a commission cancelled while in progress due to illness of the client. That painting went on to win an award in an exhibition! Being free of any money takes the pressure off. I am simply painting for enjoyment and if the client is pleased then they pay.....I never have any problems with payment.
- Be Clear and upfront about what you will paint. I will only paint subjects I am comfortable with. I will only take commissions of places I have visited. I prefer to work from my own photos of the place. I don't mind having the client suggest colors or give input but I decide if those suggestions will result in a painting that will stand on it's own....that someone else might like as well! A commission painting has to be something I would choose to paint on my own. That is what makes it fun and less pressure for me!
- Emphasize that the painting will not be an exact copy of something else. It could be similar to a painting I have already done but it will never be an exact copy. I make sure the client knows this before I start. I usually paint small studies before painting anything large and email photos for approval before I start. This eliminates misunderstandings although it is important to also emphasize that the painting will not be an exact copy of the study either.