Q: When you left the Navy you worked on commission as a portrait artist. Why don’t you accept commissions now?
A: As I have often said, I left the active duty Navy in 1989, but stayed in the Reserves. The Reserves provided a small part-time income and the only requirement was that I work one weekend a month and two weeks each year. Plus, I could retire after 13 more years and receive a pension. (In 2003 I retired from the Navy Reserve as a Commander). The rest of the time I was free to pursue my studio practice.
For a short time I made a living making commissioned photo-realist portraits in soft pastel on sandpaper. However, after a year I became very restless. I remember thinking, “I did not leave a boring job just to make boring art!” I lost interest in doing commissions because what I wanted to accomplish personally as an artist did not coincide with what portrait clients wanted. I finished my final portrait commission in 1990 and never looked back.
To this day I remain reluctant to accept a commission of any kind. So I am completely free to paint whatever I want, which is the only way to evolve as a serious, deeply committed artist.
Comments are welcome!
Posted on October 4, 2014, in 2014, An Artist's Life, Art in general, Creative Process, Inspiration, New York, NY, Painting in General, Pastel Painting, Photography, Quotes, Studio, Working methods and tagged accept, accomplish, active duty, art, artist, became, boring, clients, coincide, Commander, commission, commissioned, committed, completed, completely, deeply, evolve, free, income, interest, job, left, living, looked, lost, making, month, Navy, paint, part-time, pension, personally., photo-realist, portrait, provided, pursue, receive, reluctant, remain, remember, requirement, Reserves, restless, retire, said, serious, small, soft pastel on sandpaper, stayed, Studio, studio practice, thinking, want, wanted, weekend, whatever, work, years. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I like your answer to why you do not do portrait commissions any more. I do commission work from time to time but prefer to explore my own ideas and not have to cater to a clients likes or dislikes. Freedom. I am now retired from my job of 20 years with the State of Washington and focusing on art and ideas that I want to express. Happy painting.
Thanks for commenting, Ernest. Art is all about freedom!