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.


Anatomy of a Commission - Who's Doing It?

Spring has come a little early to southern Colorado - never like a lamb; more like a fury of raging wind. I have painted in rain, snow and really cold temps, but wind - I can't go there. Maybe it is a good thing because I have 3 commissions due at the end of the month and if the weather was more accommodating I would begrudge the time in my studio to do them.
So, what's up with Commissions? Who is doing them?
Artists who are willing to work for hire.
I know of several serious artists who have carved out a niche for themselves in the commission market, even in this economy. One artist paints "Home Portraits" and one paints pets. They market themselves in various ways but once you have few satisfied customers - news gets around.
If you are willing and your friends know - be prepared when they ask.
Commissions range from individual paintings to large jobs that might be a mural or series of paintings for a home or office.
More about where my commission came from and how it is going - when I post next.