The Business of Art

Blue 16 x 20 watercolor - Private collection

Just delivered the “Blue” the above painting to its happy new owner.

Learning about the business of being an artist is never ending.

Learning with each new commission. From Blue comes the lesson I need to give myself a deadline, even if the client doesn’t care when they get their painting. Looking back at my records, she originally commissioned it in August! Normally, I do my commissions as quickly as I can…..but I made the mistake of listening to my client. She wasn’t in any rush, so neither was I. It went on the board, and I’d work on other projects as there wasn’t any deadline. From now on, all commissions get a date to be accomplished by – even if it’s self-imposed.

Learning to keep in contact with my clients. Right after finishing the sketch for the painting, my client reached out with another photo, asking if I thought that one would produce a better painting. As I hadn’t started the actual painting yet, it was no big deal. And we ended up keeping the original plan. But, if I had given it a deadline, it would have already been done. If I’d given her a heads up when I started the sketch, she would have known.

Is it time to to consider a commission agreement? Learning that even though I still feel like a kid playing in the studio, this is a business after all.

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What goes around…

4" x 6" watercolor - Private Collection
4″ x 6″ watercolor – Private Collection

Watercolor 4" x 6" Private Collection
Watercolor 4″ x 6″ Private Collection

Paying it Forward or Giving Back. No matter what you call it, I can highly recommend you give it a try.

Make no mistake about it, my artwork is my livelihood. But a commitment I made during the year on a Facebook page recently has had me paying it forward.

In addition to sending my friend her painting, I’ve donated a painting to our local Art Center, painted a small cat portrait for one of the participants in the Pay it Forward Challenge (she cried when I dropped it off). Offered drawing lessons to two others and sent a donation to Twitter for their Annual Art Exhibit.

So what happened next? I’ve been contacted by someone interested in joining my watercolor class, have won a prize for a painting, and have had six holiday commissions show up. Two of these commissions are from a complete stranger (up until now).

So if you think it doesn’t come around, I’d suggest you try your own experiment. Give someone something. Randomly, just for the joy. And let me know your results!