It wasn’t long after my Hoi An painting that I managed to secure my first paid commission. Wow – someone paying me to paint something for them! That felt like progress!
I had been chatting with one of the Partners at a firm I worked with at the time, and he explained that he had recently been looking at buying a few original paintings he had seen in galleries. I mentioned that I dabbled in oil painting and showed him a few photos and he asked me there and then if I would paint a photo he’d always loved of his kids on holiday from years ago.
I immediately felt apprehensive, and felt the pressure of a million questions rushing into my head, like – ‘what if he doesn’t like it?’ (how awkward), ‘what if the photo is really challenging?’, ‘what do I charge?!’, ‘he’s my boss – what do I really charge!?!’
I settled on, “yes I’d love to try that!”
He brought the photo into work, and I could see why he liked it. I loved the fact the kids were facing away, arm in arm, showing such a cute bond! I was already looking forward to painting this one, as I could see how nice the subject would look on the wall in the family home.
This one took a while, due to the detail around the fence and the creases in the clothing etc which I had never really done before, using oils. All in all, it took around 2 months from start to finish, but thankfully there was no deadline attached to it, so I was fairly relaxed about timescales, and just wanted to get it right.
As the painting was coming along, I was feeling more and more nervous about presenting it, partly because I wanted him to like it, and partly because, like any aspiring artist, I wanted to put off the ‘price tag’ conversation! Cory Huff, founder of ‘The Abundant Artist’, hits the nail on the head,
“I am convinced that pricing is always the hardest thing I do as an artist. How the heck do we decide what to charge? Pricing just feels like a big, black void, and one with a lot of pressure: charge too much, and they’ll run away; charge too little, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot”.
That conversation, was for another day! So I managed to get the painting finished, and once dried, I took it to a local framing shop and selected a backing mount and frame.
A few days later I brought it in to work, ready for the big unveiling, and I have to say, I was thrilled with the reaction it got! I think he genuinely loved it. I felt relieved(!), and happy with the finished piece.
Oh, and we had the price tag chat, and we were both satisfied with the agreed figure!