Commissions and being creative, having trouble.

edited November 2019 in General Discussion
It seems when I decide to do my own paintings they always come out more creative color-wise, but my commissions feel constrained in color.  I feel as though I can't experiment as much and my work just feels dull.  Any ideas how to overcome this mental hurdle?    


  • There's always room for creativity but you have to come to terms with the fact that a buyer has different tastes than you. You should show potential commissioners samples of your creativity to see if they share your tastes but be clear that you can make adjustments to suit theirs.
  • I have all but stopped commission work.  I, too, felt constrained the minute I started on a commission.  What works best for me is to paint what pleases me.  If someone else finds it so interesting he wants to buy it, that's fine with me.
  • I've tried it~ pretty much ruins my life lol!
  • I do commission portraits for people.  These are done from photos and are usually boring, but it pays for more brushes and paint and canvases.  You learn to tell what someone wants.  Around where I live they want a realistic portrait with little room for anything imaginative.  It doesn't bother me, but I can see how it would bother others.  You need to be comfortable with what you want to do and please yourself.
  • @dencal !!!!   that was so insightful!  thank you for sharing.  @rolotomasi I have no words of advice because it would take the pure piss out of painting for me if I was doing it for someone else.  If someone likes what I've painted, they can buy it,  when someone says "can you paint my dog"  ..  They don't even finish the sentence before I say "no".  
  • @rolotomasi
    Your question was helpful for me in terms of where I would like to head with my artwork in the future. I would not necessarily rule out doing commissions but neither do I feel drawn to doing them.

    Having said that its still very early days for me and I have only done about ten paintings. I guess you cant really experiment if you are painting to order. Im not knocking doing them and it must be the bread and butter for many artists.

    I was thrilled when I got a commission  to do a sunflower (presently my profile pic) after someone had seen my photo of it. The person wanted a big mitre square size of it. And I did the smaller painting A4 size as a study. Anyway after months of back and forth communication about sizes, etc, I think my price put them off, I came down a bit. It didn't work out in the end, but I really wasn't that bothered anymore.

    I just want to get better at what I do, continue to enjoy painting the subjects I want to and if people enjoy it enough to buy it then thats great too.
  • Thanks for all your responses.  While I would rather do a creative version of whatever I paint, I totally understand if the client wants a photo realistic version of the painting.  I was toying with the idea of setting higher prices for photo realistic portraits, and lower prices for my own creative touch (not too low lol).  thoughts on this?  
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