So a friend of an acquaintance of mine, whom I met briefly once, called and wanted me to do a portrait of her granddaughter. I told her that I did commissions, but that I was not a “Portrait Artist” per se. She looked at my work and insisted I do it for her. When I told her my prices, there was a long pregnant pause. I told her it would be $50 less if she framed it, knowing all too well it would cost her considerably more if she were to have it framed at a frame shop. She sent me the photo, and asked that I take out the toy in the hand and add a beach with palm trees in the background. I personally thought it was overkill, and let her know in a subtle manner. I did as she asked, and spent about four days on the painting. I was charging $400 unframed and $450 unframed.
I am finally learning at this point in life, not to be as trusting as I have been all my life. I did not ask for a deposit. Shame on me! I trusted she would like the finished product.
Well, it did not turn out that way. She did not like it; never came to see it in person and was pretty rude in her interactions with me.
I think I am a little upset, as I spent longer on it than I normally do on a painting, and basically wasted three days of my life. But did I really waste my time, or was this a message I needed.
I texted her back saying this was not a photograph, but was represented an image of her granddaughter. She stated she would pay me nothing, and that part is rude, but not unexpected. I added that I learned a good lesson: Don’t do commissions for someone you do not know, and get part of the money upfront. I wasted time and nice linen canvas. The thing I really cannot believe is that she could not bother to even stop by and take a look. I think she just decided she did not want to spend the money.
A family member in the interim asked me to do a portrait of her daughter, and she loved it. She did not ask for a background, which is usually nominal in a child’s portrait, but gave a photo that showed the whole head, without a huge hat.
I still do not call myself a portrait artist, and will not step out and take a chance with a total stranger. The woman who did not accept the portrait of her granddaughter did not say thank you for your time or even offer to pay for the canvas or my time.
It is one thing to accept negative comments, but something entirely different to be treated so rudely. How do I know, maybe she is just not a happy person or I did not make her grandbaby a beauty contest winner??
You can be the judge of that! I think I will just draw a mustache on the painting and deliver it to it’s proper home: The trash!