...serenity in motion

Committing to Commissions, Do it or don't but stick to your guns

Commissions, a smile on your face and light in your heart.

It was a rough weekend for me this past week.  It put me in mind of a Tennent of mine, “don’t take the commission if you aren’t happy to do the work.”  As artists, we get hungry and we will do commission work to fill in the financial gap.  Every so often, I will hear an artist complain about the client or the job and I wonder how the final project turned out.

We hired a local contractor to do a small job around the house.  It should have been a 3-day job and it ended up being 5 days of stress and anguish for both parties involved.  Their boss drove 75 miles (one way) on 3 different days to move the project to completion and I found out in the middle of the 4th day, the jobber didn’t want to do my project.  Made me feel incredibly special let me tell you.

I don’t care how you feel about the client or subject, you are painting and that should put some light in your heart.  The fact that you are getting paid to do so should put a smile on your face.  Most artists end up being drug down by fear and insecurity.  What if they don’t like it?  What if I get it wrong?  Maybe they won’t like the colors I used.  In the nine years I have been painting, I have had only one person unhappy.  We actually rectified it with a different subject entirely and she cried with happiness when I showed her the final project.

Always remember, unlike housing projects; they chose you to do the art.  They didn’t want anyone else to do it.  I can promise you, there is an artist under every rock, and they will take that commission if you don’t.  The client wanted you to do this painting, take faith from that.  They chose your style and your palette, let that give you confidence.  The most important thing of all, get a non-refundable deposit.  Your time is worth something and you need to cover the cost of your materials.  I charge a 10% deposit.  If they don’t like it, you get to keep the money. 

In the end, you don’t have to take commission work.  It is always your “Choice” to do so.  If you don’t want to do commissions, don’t do them.  You need not offer any explanation either.  People now a days work hard to overcome objections.  The best way to win an argument today, don’t argue.  A simple no takes the argument out of most people.  You need not answer the “Why not?”, you can just walk away.  Feel free to do so. 

Being an artist is fulfilling but not for the faint of heart, work hard not to make it more difficult.  The woman who cried over the second painting?  We are still friends and she loves the second try I did for her.  I love the first painting that she refused and I will never regret doing it.