Today I finished a 25 by 25 inch commission for a customer who has admired my work for a while. We'd agreed on a certain size work, with certain elements about 2 years ago. I dragged my feet and didn't get the commission done right away and by the time I did, she was not in a position to purchase. By the time she got back to me, the piece was no longer what she wanted. And, so, I learned my lesson. Be expedient with commissions because over time, wishes and desires and situations can change. No biggy! The other piece will sell fast, once I actually get it in its special frame.
But, that does bring me to the whole idea of commissions. I do them. But I don't always like doing them. Don't get me wrong. If someone likes a certain piece but it won't fit where they would like to put it, I'm happy to create something else using similar elements and colors. But, when they want the sky from piece "A" and the road from piece "b" and the structures to be "more in the background", what happens is I become the draftsman of someone else's art. And, that is not the fun way to do it. What happens in these situations is the spontaneity of my creating art is gone. Poof! GONE. And that makes for static art. Generally, the commission is not exactly what the client expected. Sometimes it is as simple as liking the highlights on an adobe building in one piece but wanting it to be nighttime...If I've used different base paper/panel colors the oil pastels are going to "mix" differently and I won't be able to replicate the exact colors. So, now I tell people I'll do the commission but give them only a certain amount of input--like colors and/or limiting which structures go into the piece, along with size-- which seems to be the main reason people ask for something special. But, not creating a "build your own". Most people get this when I explain it to them. And many people don't even want to ask for a special piece--they want what I want to create. All depends.
So, when I actually do a commission, I do feel as if the client is sitting on my shoulder, watching the overall process. Sometimes this is good as I tend to work through puzzles that I might not otherwise attack. But, when I finish a commission, even before I've gotten the final okay, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from me. And this is a VERY. GOOD. FEELING.