Q: How do you feel about accepting commissions?
A: By the time I left the Navy in 1989 to devote myself to making art, I had begun a career as a portrait painter. I needed to make money, this was the only way I could think of to do so, and I had perfected the craft of creating photo-realistic portraits in pastel. It worked for a little while.
A year later I found myself feeling bored and frustrated for many reasons. I didn’t like having to please a client because their concerns generally had little to do with art. Once I ensured that the portrait was a good (and usually flattering) likeness, there was no more room for experimentation, growth, or creativity. I believed (and still do) that I could never learn all there was to know about soft pastel. I wanted to explore color and composition and take this under-appreciated medium as far as possible. It seemed likely that painting portraits would not allow me to accomplish this. Also, I tended to underestimate the amount of time needed to make a portrait and charged too small a fee.
So I decided commissioned portraits were not for me and made the last one in 1990 (above). I feel fortunate to have the freedom to create work that does not answer to external concerns.
Comments are welcome!
Posted on February 22, 2014, in An Artist's Life, Art in general, Creative Process, Pastel Painting, Photography and tagged "Reunion", accomplish, art, believed, bored, career, charged, client, color, commissions, composition, concerns, craft, create, creativity, devote, ensuring, experimentation, explore, external, feeling, flattering, fortunate, frustrated, growth, learn, likeness, medium, money, Navy, painter, particular, pastel, perfected, photo-realist, please, portraits, pronounce, reasons, room, time, under-appreciated, underestimate, work. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.