You like to think that your work is still sitting on a wall somewhere and not in a thrift store gathering dust. Let’s be realistic. It’s only a matter of time before your artwork doesn’t fit with what interior design decides is trendy.
I remember when my blue period went south years ago and I had to rejig the colours on my palette. That’s where you really appreciate your patrons. They like your work regardless.
Now I’m no renowned artist. My work isn’t everyones cup of tea. I don’t stick perpetually to one technique or style. So when I sell yet another work to a patron it is with great pleasure. I guess the whole idea is a bit romanticised by me but they are special. I have even had a few that have returned for commission work.
Working outside your comfort zone
I remember one patron asking me if I would do a life drawing of her in charcoal that she could frame and give to her husband as an anniversary present. Well you don’t say no to a commission but I was a tad nervous on the day. Life drawing with a model in a group setting is one thing. Going to a persons home quite another.
Then from the same patron a few years later. A large painting custom made to fit in her and her partners newly renovated dining room. They presented me with an idea and described what they think it should look like. I remember carrying this large work to their home for the first viewing. They discussed adding extra highlights to the work to tie in with the decor. I’m glad I could meet the brief. People sometimes say “That is so disrespectful that they asked you to change things” and my response is always “It is a commission. That is how a commission works”.
About your legacy
Remembering back to the first time this patron bought my work. It was a charity auction raising money for a childrens hospital. It lived with her for a number of years until she advised that it had moved onto another admirer of the work. There was no need to let me know but she did anyway.
But I think the funniest request from another patron was someone that wanted me to paint a picture of their partners nose. I thought they were joking so I completed it with hot pink being the main colour. At no charge of course and thinking they would throw it away. Imagine my surprise…and horror…to find that the work has been lovingly placed in their home for all to see.