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The Trouble with Commissions


This is a commissioned painting that I started several days ago.  Artists take commissions for a variety of reasons and every artist I've either talked to or read about, takes on a commission with a pit in their stomach.  There are many good reasons why but, I'll list two that always boil to the top of the pot:


  • Lack of artistic control
  • Fear of disappointing patron
One cannot come up without the other.  The artist in most cases sacrifices one because of the other.  In this case, the arrangement of the deer fly in the face of good compositional rules:

  • Odd number of subjects over even numbers.  In this case, 3 or 5 deer is better than the 4 the patron is expecting.
  • Placement of the subjects are static.  In this painting, the patron wants two and two.  It would be better to group three of them together and one off to the side and that deer looking in the direction of the other three.
But there is a reason for patron's desire for two and two:

  •  She is going to give this painting as an anniversary gift.  
  • The couple took the reference photos of the 4 deer that were in their backyard.  
  • Patron and couple noticed the heart shape made by the necks and chins of the two upper deer because their noses are together.
  • They think the deer are kissing.
  • Patron feels the all 4 deer have to be included because that's whats in the photos.
So, I have to sacrifice artistic control to please the patron.  Something I'm willing to do.  But... I always note the painting was commissioned and by who on the back of the painting.  BTW:  Even though I do this to get me off the hook with artistic control, patrons really like the annotation.

So what about the paint on the bottom of the painting?   Are you starting a new way to paint?  NO.  I was moving the piece to get a picture and it fell right into the palette.  This is after 4 hours of work.  Thank God the landing was an easy one to remedy.  Put had to get a picture first.  Below is at the end of the day...Hope to finish the piece today.






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