A woman rang me last week, wanting a painting doing of her house as a present for her husbands forthcoming birthday. I asked her the usual questions – what medium? watercolours? Oils? pen and ink? She didn’t know. What size? She wasn’t sure. Was I framing it or her? She thought she would get it framed. She asked how much it would be. I said I couldn’t answer that without more idea of what she wanted exactly. She asked if it would be over Â£100 and I said “Yes”. I asked her if she had a price range she was considering and she said “No”. She said she wasn’t sure what she wanted and asked me to go and visit her to see the property and give her some more idea of what was the best way of creating the picture as she knew nothing about art. I arranged to go and see her the next day. I arrived, she gave me coffee, we chatted about a lot of subjects and got on well enough, she showed me where the painting would hang and I worked out the size the painting would be to fit the area and told her its dimensions, then we went outside to look at the property and I gave my opinion on the layout and how best to capture it in a painting, as a watercolour, and described it to her, telling her what I would do to paint the picture, and suggesting ways of enhancing the image from what I could see infront of me. She listened and understood. I showed her a painting I had taken with me, of an old building in watercolour so that she could see my style and what I do (since she hadn’t come to me through my website, and I knew she didn’t know I was an erotic artist, I felt it better to show her a traditional painting rather than direct her to my website and probably shock her with my, er, less traditional work!!). She liked the painting I showed her. She asked how much for the painting of her house and I gave her a price. Her face immediately dropped, and she said very curtly that she’d be in touch. Ok, I said and came away. She hadn’t rung me after a few days so I rang her, pleasantly, and asked if she had had further thoughts on the painting “Yes” she said “I don’t want it”. I asked pleasantly if it was the price that was the problem. “Yes, it is”, she said. I said that I could perhaps drop the price a little for her, (since I wanted the job) but that I had asked her last week if she had a price range and she had said no she hadn’t. I asked politely if she had a price range now? And she said no she hadn’t and very curtly dismissed me…….
….. Ok, then what did I miss in that? Um…… nothing. I had checked with her first if she had a price range and she had said no she hadn’t. She said she knew nothing of art, and would be guided by me. I gave her my considered opinion and she didn’t like the end price. Why didn’t she? She obviously had got a price in her head but wasn’t going to tell me what it was. Was she expecting the whole job to be done for 50 quid? No….. cos she asked if it would be more than a Â£100 before I went to see her. She said she knew nothing about art. So that’s where the problem lies – she knows nothing about the creation of art either. And there do seem to be two sorts of people in life – those who think artwork is a wonder to behold, that anyone who can paint a decent picture is wonderfully clever and anything they produce is awesome and to be “Wowwed” over. And there are the people at the opposite extreme who seem to think that art is just churned out easily and has no great worth, and can’t understand that it involves a whole lot of talent, learning, practice, mental capacity, ability, time, and materials.
So, am I sorry I lost the commission? Yes, I am, I quite fancied doing the painting and would have made an excellent job of it. Ah, but would I have done the job for fifty quid? ER, no! I value myself higher than that. So I know my value………….. even if the woman doesn’t value it!