For years I resisted doing work on commission. People can be so fussy and demanding and the thought of falling short to some one’s expectations was overwhelming daunting thought. So why now am I taking commission work as opposed to earlier in my artist career?
Well…..for years now I have been studying the masters from the Renaissance period to the Impressionist period and beyond. Over the years I have perfected my drawing and painting skills by studying and painting copies of the old masters. Invaluable lessons have been learned through these exercises. True you don’t make much money this way, but is art all about money?
Second…….when taking on a commission I have to be very realistic about my abilities, can I do this?….do I have the time, the skill, and even the desire to do this piece? This is the honest reality check.
Thirdly……is price. I have to be realistic about the price. I do that by keeping up with how much I have invested in the materials. You know paint, canvas….etc.. Then I keep an account of time. Seriously….when I keep up with the amount of time I spend on a particular piece, it is usually much less time than I realized. Then I set an hourly amount I need to be paid to paint a piece.
For example….I just finished I 5×7 inch painting of two horses for a client in Texas. My client had seen another painting like this in her friends house and wanted one like it. Great! I keep all my drawings, so I was ready to start and I completed this piece in about 3 1/2 hours.
So let’s say with the economy the way it is…..a realistic dollar amount per hour for a relatively unknown artist like myself is between $10 and $15 an hour. Yeah, seriously….. My personal philosophy is I would rather be painting than not. And to keep myself in brushes, paint, and canvas… I have to sell. This piece was easy for me to do, so I charged only $10 an hour plus shipping charges. That way the client gets an original piece of art at a good price, my name gets known in my client’s circle of friends, and I get new brushes.
Yes, for the meanwhile….I’ll keep my day job. But I’ll also get to keep painting and eating……
Don’t get discourage….being artistic is more than making money….it’s a necessary passion.