Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It happened again.

You are not going to believe this.
I can't believe it.
I can't even find the appropriate word.
maybe it's...disappointment.
or, uh maybe, frustration.
Anger? no, I'm too tired to be angry.
What's a good word for......being pissed off and just DONE with it.
Anyway, to get to the point.
Remember that commissioned painting that I just did for a CO-WORKER?
The one that she asked me to do and said "I'll even pay you!"
to which I had replied, "Well of course you'd pay me! I'm not going to do it for FREE"
and she said, "I'll pay you , like $50.00!"
and I said OK and that I had to finish the one I was working on but I'd do it.
So I finished that other painting (which I got paid less then I'd make working at my current job for 2 hours)
and then I asked this girl if she still wanted a painting and she said "Yes! I'll give you $50!"
and I laughed and said OK, because I could use the money.
Then my co-workers threw this girl a baby shower.
They came to me and told me that she had a jungle theme for the nursery and they were buying her bedding etc.
So they asked me to do some paintings (plural) as a shower gift.
They said they would pay me or I could give them as a gift myself.
Well, how dumb would it be for me to not give them myself?
So I did it. I spent my an entire weekend painting them when I would have rather just gotten her a giftcard.
I mean, we are not that close.
But I painted one of a monkey hanging with bananas and another with a lion with a baby cub on his head and a bigger one with a zebra and a giraffe...
They matched the bedding and I felt like I was infringing on copyrighted stuff so I never even took a photo of them.
but these are the photo's I worked from -

everyone said they looked just like the characters
and when I gave them to her she was thrilled!
Then I told her that I had a few more paintings to do (for Christmas gifts) but I'd get her dog painting done before she delivered the baby.
She laughed and said OK!
(She's due this February.)
So I finally I got it done and gave it to her a week ago last Friday.
Remember this?

and she seemed happy.
I told her to just put the money on my vet bill, that it was getting UP there and I needed to get some money on it.
She didn't pay me that day but that was OK, I mean she didn't know I was going to bring it that day.
Then all week last week...nothing.
So I thought, OK we get paid on Monday, maybe she's waiting for payday.
Although if I was in that situation, I would have told the person that I would pay them but needed to wait until I got paid.
Well, Monday came and she didn't even look at me. 
I felt awkward and one of my friends in the reception area told me to just go ask her.
But there were always other people around and I found it hard to find the right words.
So my friend said to send her a private message Facebook.
That evening I thought about it but I while I'm very passive aggressive when it comes to people I actually know
I felt that was just too passive and besides, who knows how often she's on Facebook?
I could be waiting (fretting over it) forever.
So the next day, first thing in morning, I walked up to her and said
"Hey, you know that painting that I painted for you?" and then I rubbed my fingers together in the universal sign of money.
She laughed and kinda blushed.
I then said, "I'm getting 3 of my dogs groomed today and I could really use the cash, so if you could just pay me instead of putting it on my account.."
She then said that she only had a debit card but maybe she could get some cash off of that?
My co-worker/friend piped in and said "Yes, they can do that for you up front!".
So she went up front and I waited a few minutes and walked up there and she just handed me some folded bills which I promptly stuck in my pocket and said "Thanks!" as she walked away.
Then my co-worker/friend said "I can NOT believe that she only paid you $30!"
I said "What?" and I pulled the cash out and looked at it.
Yep, $30.00.
I'm done.
I worked on that thing a little bit every night for a week and then on the weekend I put in the Season 3 DVD of The Walking Dead and painted that while the show played all weekend long.
The ENTIRE weekend.
Yep, I'm done with doing paintings for people I know.
....or they will have to pay me first.
and then I'm STILL not sure if I will do it.
I'm just going to work on my book.
and what if she finds this and reads it?
That's highly unlikely...and if she does,
Like I said, I'm very passive aggressive.


Sandy Mastroni said...

Oh Cindi
sometimes it feels like people don't know how many HOURS of work we put into a creation , plus all the time thinking about it , planning how to do it .
I have a hundred stories too ..... you're not alone .... do YOUR dreams .
I should do that too > MY dreams .
but I forget , and I do what someone wants because it sounds like fun and I need the money
sometimes it works out well , sometimes not so well

Nita Stacy said...

So rude!!!! From now should be paid half up front at the very least. I hate it when people think I should paint them something as a gift. It is much easier and cheaper to just go buy something. All the time and materials that go into it... I also have a problem with people always wanting me to just do a logo for them because they are my friend. I just don't do it. I won't ask you to do your job for free. It's like me asking someone who sells advertising to spend two days selling advertising and getting nothing for it. They just don't get it. We must be paid for our artwork.
We aren't doing it for fun. We are doing it because it's our livelyhood and its not fun to work for free and should not be expected.

An Urban Cottage said...

Wow. I'm speechless.

Abi said...

That really sucks. I hope you don't stop creating though?

denise said...

Cindi...this is definitely a lesson learned, but it can be rectified, possibly, if you are willing. I've learned this lesson myself and it's painful. So here I am asking you to do this....go up to her privately and say something like, "you commissioned a painting from me for $50 and maybe you didn't realize that you only paid me $30. Please pay me the balance today." If you put it back on them in a nice way and not a defensive way, she has the opportunity to feign embarassment. I'd like to say to do it in front of someone but that may not turn out as you would like. You could also approach it in a way of "I appreciate the down payment of $30 that you gave me for the painting, but I'd like the balance of $50 to be paid by the end of today." if need be, hand her a receipt with dates of payment and date given to her. If you want I can send you a simple letter I do for this.

I know and you know she knew exactly what she was doing, but you have to at least call her on it. She may not give you the extra $20, but at least you are not hiding behind HER shit. This is apparently a character flaw of hers, and if you and anyone else lets her get away with this type of behavior without even acknowledging it, she will continue to do this to others in her life, also. Also, and more importantly, this effects your psyche. It's not a comfortable feeling approaching someone for money, but you will be empowered that you did not let her walk on you.

In the end, I believe what goes around comes around, but that doesn't get rid of the icky feelings. If after this, she doesn't pay you, you'll have to learn to let it go. I can say also that when you work with her, as much as you'd like to be a b**** toward her, I'd remain professional and cordial. I think that can be one of the worst things for people that have done wrong. When the recepient of the wrong doing is still nice. People know the bad things they've done and they have to live with it...and that's not always easy to do and can eat at you over time and no matter how long it's been past, it pops up once in awhile and you feel like shit all over again.

So let her feel like shit.

In the future, you definitely have to take a non-refundable deposit and don't release the work until payment has been made.

I've been doing artwork for others for 24 years, and I still make these "in good faith" mistakes, although much more rarely.

Be honest and be yourself, if you are, the saying is correct in "the truth will prevail."

If it does not come to a positive outcome, forgive yourself (cuz you are beating yourself up over this) and move forward. It's hard sometimes, but it's the only way.


Cynthia Myers said...

Thanks Sandy! I'm sure you probably have some stories!
I'm just going to work on illustrating my book and forget about painting for co-workers. I should have told them when they asked me to do the paintings for the shower, that I had other commitments and just didn't have the time. I was just caught off guard. But never again. Thanks so much for commenting!

Cynthia Myers said...

Yes Nita.I agree, paid upfront.
A friend of mine said I should post a sign at work, listing my prices.
Now I'm thinking of doing that. AND making them kinda HIGH so that IF I do them, it will be worth it.
Also, if someone pays me upfront, then I always hurry up and do them. It motivates me to get it done quickly.
Sigh. :(

Cynthia Myers said...

Steve, yeah "speechless" is a good word for it.
I'm at work now and I'm trying to rise above it and be friendly and this person just "stares" at me.
Maybe someone said something to her because she's no longer speaking to me.
Gawd! Sometimes I just hate working with a bunch of women.

Cynthia Myers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia Myers said...

No Abi, I won't stop creating.
I'm just going to work on my book instead for awhile.
I'm actually am full of ideas and excited about working on it so maybe it's all happened for a reason...
To get me started.
Anyway, Thanks for commenting!

Georgina said...

That's awful, Cindi! Don't be discouraged, though. I'd like to think the majority of people who love animals and paintings of animals are goo, honest folks. There will always be those idiots, though...count on it.

Lesson learned, now get out there and create, lady.


Cynthia Myers said...

OMG Denise!
This is the most awesome comment ever! Thank you SO MUCH!
I just talked with my co-worker/friend about your advice and while she agrees that the girl should be called on it, she's saying it's not worth it. We work in such a small clinic and as every small business full of women, there is constant back-stabbing battles. I have always remained as neutral as possible and I'm afraid that this would throw me into the ring and I would have to choose a side. While mentally I have chosen my "side" along time ago, I don't want to make this into a bigger deal. I've learned my lesson and it won't happen again. She and I have butted heads before, over a pet that was NOT mine. She told me NOT to worry about him and that it wasn't my place and he wasn't my cat and then she said that she's a realist. I told her that I'm a dreamer, that I prefer to look on the happier side and to have hope and for her to NEVER tell me who to care about again!
Yeah. I will consider the source and I will be cordial.
I've learned a lesson and it's not worth $20 to give everyone something else to gossip about.
But TRULY! Thank you SO much!
I will follow your advice from here on out.

Cynthia Myers said...

So good to see a comment from you!
It just feels good to get this off of my chest. I really debated on whether to even blog about it but now I'm glad I did. It warms my heart to know that I have such great blogger buddies.
And I will start creating ASAP!

Anonymous said...

Some people ar just nasty! Always count the money in front of the person especially if You know her/ him.

Personally I would most likely have embarresed her in fron of people she knows, then at least she would have stayed out of my way as soon as I came close :-)


Cynthia Myers said...

Christer, She's about to have the baby and rumor has it that she might just stay home and not come back to work.
Then I wouldn't have to deal with her personality any longer and hopefully anyone NEW would be nicer.
Here's to Hoping!!! LOL!

denise said...

The good thing is that you did get a portion of the payment, it sounds like she was going to not pay you at all! We all have to pick our battles, you've chosen the higher road and are looking toward the more exciting things you can put your energy into.

Cynthia Myers said...

Yes, not a battle worth fighting. :(
Now she's no longer avoiding me but rather just giving me this "Look" like she expects me to say something.
I'm over and done with it.
or as my Dad used to say,
Dead to me!
Hope she hurries up and has that baby! Hahahahahaaha!

tammy j said...

this is exactly why artists have agents.
people have been taking totally unfair advantage of artists since artists have existed.
the more i hear about the people and the place you work . . .
the more i think you need to find another place to work.
still with animals.
the animals there are NOT the problem.

Cynthia Myers said...

Thanks Tammy.
Actually this place is much better than many places I have worked at!
And it seems to be the same combination of people wherever you are. Same personalities, just different names and faces.
I just need to steer clear of them.
Which I usually can do.
And there are a few nice individuals here.
Nah, I'll just continue on until my book hits it BIG! Hahahaha!
or I get old enough to retire, whichever comes first.
But thanks for looking out for me!

Vicki said...

Late to your post, Cynthia, I'm sorry.
So much here to reply to.

Well, if the person in question does read this post, and the following comments, it wouldn't be a bad thing for her to realise her error.
I don't know the girl, and can't assess her character and the reason behind her avoiding paying for your lovely, heartfelt portrait.
I’m definitely not defending her, but, she is pregnant, so she'll be "forgetful and absent minded" - especially in the last trimester. She may have genuinely wanted a portrait to remember Zeus by.
However, impending birth tends to override everything else in a woman’s thoughts. And, internal anxiety at this time can be immense.

Perhaps, to avoid too long a chilly workplace environment, accept the $30 and mention it no more. I don’t know, only can say how I would tackle it.
I do believe that karma will work things out – in one way or another.
I know it still will be difficult for you. But, she will soon be on maternity leave I imagine, and time between then and seeing her again will soothe the hurt.

I can SO commiserate with you though. An artist’s lament.
I had a few similar situations in my early years as an animal portraitist and wildlife painter. I needed to “develop a business brain”. As much as I hated it.
I simply wanted people to love what I do, and happily pay me for my time without question. It never can be truly accounted for in dollars, I’m afraid.

And, it’s still difficult today. I could tell you a story about a recent occurrence. It never goes away, this feeling of being taken for granted.

Just like the quote in my previous post, people (other than artists) will never truly understand the hundreds of hours and failures that go into making an artist good at what they do.
It isn’t a “free service” that we offer. But, what can I say (well, a lot really, lol) about those who never understand the “heART” that goes into art?
There seems to be an awkward pause when bringing up the subject of cost when someone wants a commission. And, without firm “terms and conditions”, things can go awry, to say the least.

Even “the greats” weren’t paid what they were worth, and their work not recognised while they were alive. Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne, Gauguin, Vermeer (to name but a few), were under-appreciated in their lifetime. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life.
So, we’re in good company, dear Cynthia :)

I’ve found that you soon find who’s serious about a commission when you ask for 20/30/50% upfront, to “secure their order” and pay for supplies etc. Genuine people will not hesitate.
Those that do baulk, well, be careful of “hard-luck stories”, unless you truly feel in your heart you want to gift your time and talent.

Sigh, so much to say, so little space :D

Focus on your fabulous book in the meantime, it’ll be so rewarding.
And, you’re a girl after my own heart – having TWD on whilst painting? Brilliant! Can’t wait for the second half of Season 4!!

Cynthia Myers said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a great comment.
Now that I've vented about this, I'm just going to put it out of my mind and move on. I agree that she might have a lot of things going on with her both mentally and physically at this time but to be honest, everyone has been saying that she's actually nice now! LOL. Yep, she's always been a very harsh and grumpy person...I guess I shouldn't be so shocked by it all. Oh well!
Yes, artists are never paid what they are worth, (except Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons and in my opinion, the ridiculous Damien Hirst - but that's a whole different topic).
I have already added prices on my "Art blog", more than I usually ask, but I figure if they pay me those amounts, it will be worth it to me. I checked out Etsy prices and I'm still low-balling myself.
I did have a different co-worker ask for a painting right after this girl and she asked how much and when I said $50. She hemmed and hawed and never gave me a photo so Yes! I needed to be firm.
It's just that the price had been stated...whatever, I'm not thinking of it anymore.
My niece has asked me to do 4 drawings/paintings for the daycare center she works at and I know that I won't be paid, and that's fine. At least I know that going in.
Anyway! Yes, now I'm ready for Season 4 of TWD! I can not believe that I love that show! Ha! HA!
Thanks again for the comment and I will be focusing on my book for a while! xoxo

regreta said...

I am disgusted AND annoyed! But how many times have you or I been screwed over by cash, right? hey atleast you were able to squeeze some money outta her... Jerk!!!

Sorry to hear you had to be taken advantage for you to figure out who's on your side. And remember, her bad attitude is her guilty conscience, some people run on lower vibrations and that's how they just survive, not live. Miss cindi, I commend you for being such a lady and letting it go. I think all the positive comments from your readers and fans ring true, we all think you are Kool with a K! Lesson learned= ask for a down payment, that way your client knows you mean business and it avoids alot of games. I cannot agree more with Vicki's eloquent response, (and others who chimes in) people who have no artistic inkling have no idea what it takes to produce good work....

And as far as pregnant goes, there ain't nothing like a kid to call you out on your reality, it might not be today, it might not be tomorrow but in the famous words of mr. MLK "The arc of the universe is long but bends towards justice", Im sure in the not to distant future she might be in the same situation with her kid getting taken advantage, and won't that be something Miss Cindy, she's gonna remember YOU. LOLZ!!!!!!

Cynthia Myers said...

Regreta, You are too kind.
I do love the idea of "The arc of the Universe". That sounds good to me.
And to think that I almost didn't post about this. I was afraid everyone would think I was just whining. I must say that it's nice to have everyone take the time to leave such great thoughtful comments. It really does help.
and yes, I've learned my lesson.
Thanks again for this comment!