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.