When I got my first commission I thought wow! This is fantastic. However, I soon discovered that commissions can be a bit of a mine field. So here are my top tips on how to navigate the mines.
When you sell a painting the buyer chooses that painting. They can see it, touch it. It's right there in front of them.
When a buyer asks for a commission the painting is just in their imagination. And, you will never be able to paint what they are thinking. If they start getting very specific you're onto a loosing game. I would gently suggest that you would not be the right person for their commission. It hurts to turn down income, but sometimes it's not worth the heartache.
If they say that they just love your style and trust you to paint then happy days. Maybe they just want a particular colour to be included. One couple asked for me to match the yellow in their sofa, not a problem.
So how do you find all this out?
Make sure that the buyer understands that the painting will be in your style. If you paint abstracts then they can't expect rabbits, or photorealism. Just because you can paint doesn't mean that you can paint anything.
Work out what is realistic for you to work with. Maybe they want a particular colour. Maybe they want a specific size. Maybe they need it in a couple of weeks. Maybe they want oil paints.
Establish clearly what you can accommodate and what you can't.
Ease them into their painting.
May paint a couple of sketches on paper and ask which they prefer. Then they have an idea of the final outcome.
Offer them a way of seeing progress, not too much, but maybe half way through so that they can comment. I was asked to put more pink into a painting, sure no problem. And asked to include a couple of deer....
I know someone who paints 2 and then asks which one they want (hedging bets)
Write up a contract that clearly states how the commission will work i.e.
Interim payments (maybe ask for 50% in advance to cover materials)
Make sure they agree to everything before you start.
Remember you are an artist running a business.
Lynn is a painter of flowers, landscapes, and emotions.