Man, I got my THIRD custom order the other day. and I keep saying that I don't do custom paintings... but I guess this is where its gonna wind up. People keep asking and ever since I said yes to Emily (DreamEyce Studio), I haven't been able to tell no to anyone else. I guess this is it, people. I'm officially getting started in custom work.
Although honestly part of why I'm interested in doing custom portraits is because business has been utterly dead lately. Yeah the economy's down the drain, I know. Gas is 4 bucks and then some, I know. I'm trying to cut down too... okay actually I'm very thrifty by nature so I'm living as usual, just in a saddened apprehensive state in regards to our economy and political stature. And as much as I'd rather paint whatever I want than what others want me to... these are [nearly] guaranteed sales (except Emily, who is trading a custom pin of my Marco and Perry for a shell with her Traum and Galaxy). I suppose this is really a time when i should listen to what customers want, both for sales, for a better image for my shop... and probably most importantly of all the reason to paint dogs that are outside of my comfort zones (yes brindle, yes wire hair, yes fluffy dogs, etc etc etc).
That Brussels pictured above... I never liked how he came out. He wasn't a commissioned work, I just painted a Brussels from a picture that I took at Westminster a few years ago. You know what's funny? He was my first sale. I sold that shell to the owner of a Brussels who went to my handling class. I hated how i painted that dog's head and post-like legs. But when i brought my shells to class, everyone was all impressed and "wow" and that one was grabbed right away.
I second-guess my painting skills a lot. I tend to see mistakes whereas often other people see all the good parts, and thus i do wind up as my own worst critic. For example, I look at the Pomeranian shell (based on a dog i groomed a year and a half ago and never saw again but thought was cute enough to take a picture of)... and all i see is that the colour change around the face is wonky. And that "my" dog has a lot more mane on her chest, and a different ear shape and different expression. Some others will look and say "you captured it so well!" That's the main reason I am leery of doing custom work. Perhaps to the untrained eye it looks similar. But what if my client is an artist him/herself and has an eye for these things? What if they're unsatisfied with it? I guess that's why I show them the picture before i send it, so they can approve or ask for changes. i guess that's why I don't charge super high prices for my commissioned work.
Hell, I haven't even devised what I'm going to charge for commission, and multi-dog projects and whatever. What if they want me to paint their cat?! I mean i can do cats too, but still. Some people get excited by challenges. I get scared that i won't be able to meet expectations. I'm a perfectionist, alas.