—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).
If you have a blank wall in your home it’s dead space. It’s closing in on you, closer and closer, making your room feel smaller than it is.
When you put art, or photos, or a mirror on your walls you’ve made your space larger, opened it up…ahh more breathable.
A mirror placed strategically on a wall opposite a window reflects the outdoors and the light, and almost acts as an inside window.
Art or photos hung on inside walls give you portals to other places, people, and feelings. A landscape gives you a vista in another place in the world—somewhere you’ve been or would like to visit. A still life might remind you of a special place in your mom’s house. An abstract’s swirling colors might relax you or excite you.
Art is like a time machine. All the feelings of the piece take you right there. Your home is expanded across time, space, memories, feelings—better than a dream—and all is right with the world.
I painted this on a weekend trip when I lived in California and I look at it an remember every bit of that weekend. Do you have a photo from a trip that would make a great painting for your wall? Maybe we should talk.