Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Update on my Commission Painting

So I thought I'd post an update about the little poodle painting I was commissioned to do.
The client had wanted it to be small. Ideally 5 by 7. I thought I had a 5 by 7 canvas but only found a 6 by 6 instead.
When I had finished it, I sent the client an email with a photo attached.
She did not reply to the email so I sent another saying that I would bring it to work and if she liked it she could pick it up.
No reply.
I emailed her later in the week, we had never really talked about a price but the painting she had seen of mine which was much larger, probably 18" by 18" had a tag that said it was selling for $50.00
To be honest, I have a hard time pricing my work.
One of the girls at work who has purchased a couple of my paintings, my smaller ones, told me that she thought I priced my work too low.
So I asked my co-workers what they thought was a good price for this piece.
They said since it was personalized it should be at least $30.00, maybe even $40.
So I emailed the client that I would leave the painting up front in the office in case she came in some time when I wasn't working and I was thinking $30.00.
So this Monday I come in and the girls tell me that the client had stopped in on Saturday.
They gave her the painting and waited in excited anticipation.
They all had loved how it turned out.
They said she looked at it with no emotion on her face.
She was just blank.
They said she turned it over in her hands a couple of times and then said
"30 dollars?"
"If I knew it was going to be $30.00 I would have asked for a bigger one for $50.00."
So the girls told her, "Well, she said $30.00"
and the client wrote out a check to me.
Everyone told me again how much they liked it and couldn't believe her "non" reaction.
I told them that she had specifically asked for "small" because she said it was to hang on the wall above her dog's things.
I told them that the last time I had someone ask me to paint something for them was the big C logo for the Chicago Bears on a bean sack board game thing.
I had told the wife I'd would need to go out and buy some paint pens and that they would total to just under $10.00.
So the wife stopped by and picked up the board and gave me a check.
She left me a voice mail as she drove home on how much she loved it.
Then the next day she called and asked me if she could have the paint pens.
Since they were included in the price.
She needed them because her husband wanted to go over it again and make it darker.
Seriously, I doubt if I will ever do a commission again.


Sandy Mastroni said...

I love your stories
I'm laughing .... because I GET it
I'm going to bed now .... still laughing
I needed a laugh Cindi ..... I've been too sad .

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

Oh...that sucks!!!! It was an adorable painting. And $30 was just fine a should have charged her $50.

I just can't believe it. Do not let this discourage you. Your paintings are darling. Just paint what you want and then sell them.

This woman is obviously a heathen.

An Urban Cottage said...

Don't let a few inconsiderate people bring you down.

sassypackrat said...

Oh my I'm kind of speechless. This is why artists have such a rough time. You should have charged that woman $50 because it was a custom piece of art made especially for her.
Don't give up! Just lay out the terms in the beginning before you start the work.

yoborobo said...

This is EXACTLY why I don't do them. lol! GAK! And the pen story! ACK! I can't stand it!! Okay, I'm going to become an art hermit now. You can come visit me in my cave and use my art supplies for free. xox

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

Sory but I did laugh when reading this because it is soo typical! They have this picture in their head and when the painting doesn't look exactly like that they do look sort of blank.
But I agree, Your work is too cheap!! 30 dollars is nothing! Especially since this was a custom piece.
We liked that painting a lot so don't care about her reaction!

Have a great day!

denise said...

Oh, how I feel your pain.

was a custom piece, custom...custom equals more money, even if it was the bigger size, it's custom, which means the bigger one would have been more than $50.

Damn humans.

Do not doubt yourself on this one. It was well done, it was done to her specs and it was CUSTOM. oh, did I say that already?

it makes for a good story though.

and the paint pens...don't even get me going. I had a client request the two roller heads I used for painting her walls because I had mentioned how much roller heads are now. Really? due to disabilities, she can't paint, what the heck was she going to do with them? She decided that I should keep them and use them on her next job since she paid for them already (which I knew she really wouldn't be calling me for...Just get that feeling sometimes.)


Cindi, this is when you let it go and just say "NEXT"

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

You should have charged her $ was a great painting. Hang in there and yes you should consider raising your prices.... I love your work! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Annette T. said...

I paint children's furniture and one time I took them into a gift store and the owner fell in love w/them, ordered two: one for grandson and one for granddaughter. She gave me the spelling of their names! My husband cut the chairs and I handpainted them, oh so cute. The day I took them in to her she looked at them and said: I didn't order those. Duh, why would I paint two chairs, one a girls theme and the other a boys theme with these specific names on them? I certainly couldn't resell them! I was so mad at her. I never went back to her store again. People can be so rude! So I totally understand your frustration. I loved how she said she should have ordered a bigger one!

Robin Kent said...

Don't stop now! You're just hitting one of the art biz lessons! For future commissions: get clients to spell out in an email or such (writing) what they want (size, etc), when (deadline- most important for me) and for HOW MUCH $. Then you have a paper trail. If they still renig, you hang it on the vet's waiting room wall with a price so anyone else can purchase it (seems like good captive audience for animal art and you've said they want more) and sell it to a person who likes it! Win win. You've got the talent (and the upper hand.)

Robin Kent said...

P.S. I usually ask for clients to write a note about specifics (like size, colors, $, etc) when they give me the photo of their cat, dog, etc. That way I get all their information with the picture at once. And it's a little more casual, friendly, yet its written on what's to be done.