|Cousin's Island-- commission|
There's a debate in the Art World. No, I'm not talking about the Realist vs. Abstract debate. Or the Illustrators vs. Fine Arts, Landscape vs. Seascape, Classical vs Impressionist debates. No, I'm talking about the Artists Who Accept Commissions vs. Artists Who Won't Prostitute Themselves. I can dig where the "Pure Artist" is coming from. Art should come from the soul, and an Artist can't possibly portray with conviction that which doesn't spring from his own center of creativity. I will freely admit, however, I take commissions. I enjoy having the opportunity to tackle a subject I might not have thought of doing otherwise. I also like the fact that as long a I don't screw it up horribly, it's a guaranteed check. Commissions can certainly have their share of problems though.
The kind of commission I like best is the kind that gives me the most leeway. You know, the kind where a client says, "I love your Seascapes! Can you do one for me?" Sure! Those are easy. An example of that is at the top of the page. It gets a little more difficult when a client gets too specific, like, "I love your lobster boat paintings! Can you do one for me? Just make it a red boat in the sunset, with a full moon coming up? Oh, and have the Lobster-guy leaning over like he's caught one, and the water is like, coming up and splashing him? Oh, and can you make him turning to the left and smiling? And his reflection is in the water?" Okay, but the chances are huge that if a client has that detailed a picture in mind, I can't possibly paint what he imagines. But those kind of commissions aren't all bad, in that if the client doesn't like it, I might get lucky and sell it later to someone else.
Then, there's the bad photo commission. I don't mind using an old black and white photo if that's all the client has, so long as the subject is recognizable. Just don't ask me to paint from that lovely Instamatic photo of a Rocky Mountain sunset-- with the horizon a solid wall of black. But, I've also had clients present me with digitized Polaroids from 1955 of their loved one they want a painting of. Except that the face is a smatter of pixels that from across the room might be a person, but up close, it could be an Aardvark. Then there is the client who thinks wouldn't that cute photo of her grandson Tommy's scrunched up face when he was blowing out is five birthday candles make a great painting? No, it wouldn't. But still, I've painted babies, brides, seascapes and departed loved ones. I've even done my share of house portraits. Again, I enjoyed them--for the most part-- and I wouldn't have painted them if I hadn't been asked.
|Northwoods Cabin- commission|
I do draw the line on one type of commission: Pet Portraits. I've turned down a whole lot of money by not doing portraits of Missy the Siamese cat, or Samson the Golden Retriever. Why not, you may ask? What-- do you think I'm a painting whore?