—Artists have relied on commissions for income throughout the history of art. It’s a sale before you’ve done the painting. What could be better? Well…
Hopefully the client has chosen you because they like your art style. But still they have the final say on how the painting comes out. And if it’s a portrait the pressure is great, even if it is a pet portrait. They know the person or pet intimately and you don’t.
Ideally you get paid half upfront so if they don’t like it in the end at least you get paid for materials and some of your time. And showing the client a sketch before painting can be helpful.
I was painting a pet portrait with added sunflowers for my neighbor for her daughter and the fact that she is a friend made it a bit more scary because I wanted to do a really good job. When I emailed them a photo she said there was something wrong with the eyes. My heart sank.
This was not a technical term I could deal with. But she sent me another photo and I could see a difference. She had said he looked angry and I could see in this new photo the eyes were softer.
The joy of oil paint (which stays wet forever in my house) is that it is easily changeable. I worked on it some more and in the end, mother and daughter had tears of delight and sadness (at the loss of Chauncey).
When we are quiet, when we observe, when we are still, we let it in. We let in nature, as it will begin to trust us. We let in beauty as we see more. We let in peace as we connect with the heartbeat of the universe.
Or, like this little kitty, well, he is trying to let in his next meal I suppose.
It’s a big enough job patrolling the garden, but when a dozen artists invade the place and I have to check out each one with all those shoes, and bags, and sticks in the ground, it’s a wonder I get to all my usual checkpoints. Good thing I have bench, with its raised vantage point and luxury sunbeams, to take a well deserved rest.