Sunday, June 6, 2010

Should I or Shouldn't I?

A commission for a picture is almost corrupting to the artist, since it injures his originality of impulse. - Alfred Stevens

Everyone has impulsive desires. Why do you think there are malls? How about the checkout counter at the Walmart? Artists are more impulsive than most people, I think. It's the drive that makes you work instead of just thinking about it. I am very dependent on my impulse to create. Sometimes I have to tell my impulses to calm down because I have to do laundry or some other horrid thing... like DISHES! Ewwww.

Well... I have been toying with the idea of taking commissions for portraits. What do you think? I don't really have the time or desire to do anything big or anything with more than two subjects. I also have to be the one to shoot and pose. So my work would probably have to be local. Unless someone wants to fly me to Paris to shoot their kids in front of the Eiffel Tower. I'd be down with that!

But, if I get all tingly and inspired to paint someone, should I charge money? And if so, how do I do that? It almost seems to me that if someone wants a painting made by me, then that is enough of an ego boost to make the painting. Is that silly? I mean -I could use the money since modeling gigs are really down right now.

Should I have a website?

An Etsy shop?

Should I wear jeans or a skirt today?

Do you hate it when you make your burrito too big to fold?

Come on people, help a girl out!

I've been to professional portrait artist's websites and read how they charge for their commissions (and how MUCH, whoa!). They actually get client approval before they start! AND halfway through! AND before delivery! What's that all about? I don't know if I could do that. I mean...who is making this thing? Them or me? I'm the artist here! Okay, I'm not that big of a diva, but what if they don't like what I'm doing? I don't think my precious ego could take that.

It is always dangerous to paint a portrait for nothing, for the person who has sat for it never defends it when it is criticised.
- Alfred Stevens

So, back to my question. Should I or shouldn't I? I would love it if you would weigh in on the matter. Tell me the truth. Am I full of it? Am I good enough? Since I only have one reader, I will take your opinion heavily into account.

Love and thank you,

-mom of eight monkeys and aspiring artist.

p.s.... one more thing, how much should I charge? Just askin'.


Angela Henrie said...

First of all, if someone is asking you to do a portrait, then they already love your work. Have confidence. Don't ask for approval. Go with it. It's YOU they are asking for. (If they're THAT picky, than they can paint it themselves.)
I DEFINATELY think you should do it. Maybe it's because my favorite type of painting is a portrait. When someone as talented as you can paint a person that actually looks like that person, I am amazed. Really.
But I think you really have to believe in yourself. And that, as an artist, and a woman, can be difficult.
So what DO you charge?

Morgen said...

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! This bit of advice coming from YOU definitely means a lot! I will go for it if YOU think I am good.
Here's the thing, I don't know what to charge. I hate taking money from my friends.

sheriloraine said...

It is sooo true. I am VERY impulsive. Perhaps I can call myself an aspiring artist? Hmm....

As far as commissions, that is rough. Although money would be nice... now it turns your love into a business endeavor, which brings problems.

One, you lose the freedom to paint whatever you want, when you want. You now have deadlines.

Two, when painting you have to worry if its what they want, expect, if its good enough, if they like it... blah blah blah... Then, your painting sessions are no longer pleasure but an item on your "to do" list, with a set of expectations. (Ive seen this happen to me atleast...with other things I loved)

Three, you have the current ability to serve someone in a very unique and touching way. You have the ability to suprise and really touch others. ANYONE can pay off someone to get a piece of art.... Right now when you paint for who you want, what you want... you get to surpise and definately TOUCH others in a very personal way and they really appreciate it. Ie painting for a friends wedding, painting for someones funeral, painting for a friend whose daughter is ill... these have purpose and meaning for you. NOT just painting for someones money... PLUS no one will EVER pay you what you personally feel your stuff is worth, and that can be degrading as well as discouraging. You will see other artist's sell things for thousands... others for pennies. When you start putting price tags on a very personal part of who you are...

idk, its not something I would advise.

HOWEVER I love you! And, if anyone could sell their work, it would be you because your stuff is amazing, you have so much talent... but is that something you want to turn your passion into?


your niece and loving admirer,


Judy said...

Well Morgen,
Sheri is of course right, but then again she hasn't had the wonderful opportunity of the world of reality in paying ones bills and making ends meet. Sooo, she is right from her perspective. From my perspective, every buck counts and your work is definatley marketable. I have in my home Art done by Greg Olsen, Liz Lemon, & Simon Dewey. The pictures that you paint are every bit as good, some even better. If you did cute little girls at tea parties like the print I have of Gregs I would have bought yours instead of his. The prints off of your originals could bring in extra dough and those who had your work hanging in their homes could have the pleasure of your work (Love).
Just a thought! You have been given a great talent. The more you share it the better!!! You are amazing. By the way Happy B-day coming up!!!

Morgen said...

Sheri- you are right. The end.

Judy- you are even more right. I have been working on an idea for a painting I would turn directly into prints. I think It would work out.
A few years ago I met my idol, Christie Repasy. She told me about 75% of her income is from prints. She is an amazing businesswoman so I think I should listen to her. And Angela Henrie of course!

Brenda said...

I agree whole heartily and completely with Sheri (yesterday's post). If you need the money and need to change things for that reason then go for it. You would do great. But much is lost when you transform your carefree and loving talent into a business. I would be afraid that it would change your feeling about art in the long run. But Sheri said it so much better.

I have a good friend that did sculptures. She did it for fun and the joy of personal creation. Then it became necessary for her to turn it into a business. Fun turned into work and stress and deadlines. She was successful and had no other choice but so much of her free spirit was stifled by the stress and pressure of the business portion and all that went with it. I think through the years she found a balance though.

Hope this helps. You are incredibly talented and free to follow your personal inspiration and feelings. That is what we all see and feel. It is what connects us to you as we pause and gaze in front of your work.

Keep it up - you are amazing!

Morgen said...

O.K. this is art girl I am leaving a comment on my mom's blog cause she wants help with this hard question so I think my mom should charge but not a lot though like a 12 x 14 would be like 120 dollars so well that's my opinion.