Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Commissions, yes or no?

Dunes with Tulip Fields, oils on paper, sketch, 30 x 40 cm
There was a time when I took no commissions. Had some unpleasant experiences. People sometimes have only a vague idea of the kind of painting they're looking for and they want you to surprise them ('the freedom of the artist'). I went along with that a few times, only to find out the painting was not at all what they expected. Awkward situations, so I simply said 'no' for quite some time.

Detail of the sketch
Since a few years I use a different strategy, or rather two different strategies. The first one goes like this: when I feel challenged by the idea of a buyer, I accept the commission, but the client is under no obligation to buy the painting. This way I keep my freedom and hopefully it will be sold, if not by the client, maybe by someone else.
In the second strategy I let the buyers (it's very often a couple) in on the process. To do so, I must first get a clear idea of their wishes. Next I make an oil sketch on paper and mail them a picture. I will incorporate their comments and after their consent I make the painting in oils on panel. When it's done, they're
obliged to buy it.

Tulip Fields, finished, oils on panel, 50 x 70 cm
This summer I did a commission for a dune landscape with tulip fields. It's quite a common  combination in Holland, but it's not a subject I would have thought of myself. I liked the idea, mostly because of the challenge of using bright, primary colors. I did some research and came up with an oil sketch on paper. After consulting the client I added a shed at the far edge of the field, used to store the bulbs. After their okay I did the detailed painting on 6 mil MDF board.

When you compare the sketch and
the painting on panel, you may not
see a lot of difference and on your
computer screen that's true. That's
why I added details of both the sketch
and the finished painting.
Detail of the finished painting

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