Anatomy of a Commission- What is it?
There are 2 basic ways art gets sold: we paint the masterpiece, someone sees it and immediately pulls out (in my fantasy, CASH) money and buys it. (Of course, with out any dickering or second thoughts.)
It's an emotional buy.
Conversely, -the Commission- is a non-emotional buy.
Buyer has a need: to immortalize a beloved pet, college president, or just fill empty space over the couch - or on the ceiling - think Sistine chapel. The artist is hired to fill the need.
Commissions can come in many forms: a friend asks " Would you paint my house", "My vacation property", "My Dog" - or "I have a photo of______. Can you make it into a painting?" The amazing thing about a commission: the buyer is saying "I trust you" .
You may be saying to yourself- "no one would ever commission ME to paint for them", but you might be surprised. Just last week, 2 different people asked if I could paint portraits of their kids. I had never met these people and they knew little about me beyond the fact that I could hold a brush, Hmmmmm.
If you paint - and your work is in a public place, don't be surprised if such questions come your way.
I did the 16"x 20" painting at the top, several years ago, en plein air, and it was purchased by our local hospital. The 12"x16" painting below it was a commission that came as a direct result of someone seeing the hospital painting.