This last weekend I delivered a commissioned painting to Denver; something that was supposed to be done by Halloween. Ha! The broken foot put a crimp in that schedule but I finally got it started at the beginning of December and wrapped up (at least I thought so) 2 weeks later.
This piece is 24"x 36"; the photos posted here show the progression from start to final.
I like to have a week for the under painting and a week for the oil painting stage.
When I sent photos to the client, I felt that I was finished - that would be photo 11.
Hmmmmmmmm - she wanted a more Spring feeling.
By this time the painting was dry but I "glazed" in cooler, more opaque greens - in all the trees and generally cooled everything down a bit.
Check out the 3rd to the last photo compared to the last 2. The client was right and the painting really benefited.
As to commissions in general, most artists have a love/hate thing with them, and no matter how hard you try to stay out of it - sometimes you end up in do do, do you know what I mean?
I have a couple of guidelines that can help to keep a commission for getting derailed:
1. The FEE: How much will you charge and how will you get paid.
I have never had a client balk about money if I have been clear UP FRONT.
My policy is strict: what ever the total fee is to be - I will not start the job until the check for 50%, up front, clears the bank - no exceptions - and that is NON-refundable. The money thing- it makes artists nervous, but my Dr. and certainly, my son's orthodontist never bat an eye when waiting for me to write a check, - for the TOTAL amount.
The final payment is made at the time of delivery, or in the case of shipping - before I ship.
2. The TIME FRAME: Be honest with yourself about your time frame; then be honest with the client. This will help keep you on track. If the client wants the job in half the time - Again, be honest with yourself, or - you may hate life later.
If you can do it, and are willing to do a job more quickly, you have good reason to charge more. As an aside, I am always a little wary of a client that needs it in a rush.
This particular commission went very smoothly, except that I had to put off the delivery for 3 months due to the broken foot. Fortunately, the client was very patient and in the end very happy.
Which makes me very happy.
For more info about working on commission - scroll down on the right column. I have written about it before and also posted other artist's comments on the subject.