I did this commission a few weeks ago for a close friend. One of her friends (someone I don’t know) had lost a child and she wanted me to do a painting for her with that specific saying on it. (the colors are a bit off in the photo because of bad lighting)

Commissions can be very hard.  You are trying to create something that will match the client’s own idea of what they want. I always hope that they are familiar enough with my style to trust in what comes forth.  That can be the tricky part, but mostly I’ve had no problems and the communication of ideas has been great. Other times, the inspiration and desire to create the painting just isn’t there. No spark or excitement.  I usually won’t accept the job, unless it something I can get excited about, but when a friends asks, what do you say? That was the case with this painting. I had a really hard time grasping what to feel and how to paint it.

Then there is the whole exchange of money. Specifically between friends.  With clients (people I don’t know), I have a straight-forward listing with prices–take it or leave it, deposit required. It’s easier that way and it makes sense.  With close friends, it’s not so cut and dry. Am I helping them or are they trying to help me?  I’ve had two instances where the friends seemed completely offended by me giving them the “real” price that they asked for and two friends who were completely cool with the exchange. It’s just an icky and uncomfortable spot to be in, for me, because I want to be a good friend and give them a good deal.  A hard line to walk between the friend/client relationship.

I bet there is an article out there somewhere on this very topic. I should look, but in the mean time, if you have any thoughts or experiences on the subject, I’d love to hear about them.

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7 Responses to Everyday

  1. Sandy says:

    I so know where you are coming from Regina. I solved it by making it known that I had a commercial price and a ‘family and friends’ price on all items so people would understand they were receiving a reduced price. I decided upon a percentage reduction from my commercial price and stuck with this. Luckily, this has been well received so far. I know (as I’m sure you do) that if someone is upset then it’s their issue not ours but I think you are like me and would feel that deeply and worry over it. I find the whole subject of pricing to be rather stressful if truth be told but by deciding on that percentage reduction it has made things much easier for me. Hope this helps. Love the painting by the way – love all your paintings. You are one of my favourite artists and I’m hoping this year I’ll be able to add something of yours to my home. Have a great week.

    • Regina Lord says:

      Oh thank you, so much, for this!! It is exactly what I needed and it makes perfect sense. I do fret A LOT over pricing and worry SO much about if it’s a fair price- don’t want to upset anyone! But, taking a percentage off is really a great way to go about it. Thanks so much for your help and very kind words!

  2. christy says:

    i too fret and since most of my commissions are for friends or family, i wonder if I am giving them enough of a deal…I am kinda all over the map with my price reductions (usually based on the complexity of the piece), the idea of a straight percentage does seem to make sense.

    this painting is too dear for words! priceless! is the quote one of yours or is there another author of these powerful words?


  3. angella says:

    Also have issues with pricing like this Regina. Have not had anyone being offended yet , but I usually give too much discount to friends and family! This painting you’ve done has so much heart and soul in it I am sure it will be loved and appreciated. A very difficult commission and you were very brave to take it on.

  4. nycgirl says:

    I honestly think that when I come across this issue myself it’s because of an insecurity in myself, my work and my own value – how dare I ask for money for this! But the truth is, it does have value, and you’re not just doing this as a hobby – this is your life, your livelihood and your passion. It has value. This article was a good read for me: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/slaves-of-the-internet-unite.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

    Your work has value. Don’t short change yourself. I love the painting!

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