Posts Tagged “commissions”

blog-sketch.jpgAs promised: negotiating the deal and first sketches.

The deal: I made a written proposal to the oil exec regarding number of paintings, approximate size, and price per each.  The proposal also spelled out my commission process:

  • charcoal sketches
  • sketch review and approval or changes
  • 50% deposit before start of painting
  • remaining 50% paid before shipment of painting

He then called me and we talked through it. I have found that occasionally, people who are price insensitive don’t necessarily care about the price being paid – they want to bargain for some sort of discount. I suspect there’s some sort of satisfaction in knowing they didn’t have to pay full price. Live and learn, and make your initial price proposals accordingly.

Another aspect of this concerns the gallery and its split on the deal. Since the collector found me through one of my galleries, I feel it is necessary to give the gallery its normal commission split. Collectors who are working directly with the artist may try to find out what this commission split is, and then ask for that much of a discount “since the gallery isn’t in on the deal”. It’s happened to me before and will no doubt happen again; but I will not cut deals behind the gallery’s back, nor will I fail to give the gallery its split. My gallery dealers are my business partners.

We are now in the stage of initial sketches for one of the paintings. I created several different compositions (different horses, angles, action – one is shown above) and the family has made requests for minor changes to compare versions of the sketches. We’ll see where it goes from here!


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Well, I’m home and starting to catch up on sleep from Fall Arts Festival in Jackson Hole. This is my mega-networking-socializing blowout each year – boozing, schmoozing, and precious little sleep.

The economic downturn does seem to be affecting gallery sales a bit, but it’s uneven. The crowd, and bidding, at the Quickdraw were large and enthusiastic, and many things went for above retail (including mine, whew). The JH Art Auction, which took place on Saturday afternoon and included a lot of deceased art, did fairly well (from the one update I heard mid-afternoon), with the biggies going for big prices (eg, Howard Terpning’s piece selling for $750K). However, the Western Visions show at the museum didn’t sell as many pieces as usual (again, hearsay).

Fall Arts is an invaluable opportunity to yak with other artists about business – I encourage anyone who is working in western/wildlife representational, and serious about her career, to come to JH at this time of year to hang out with the many well-known artists and ask questions.

OK, enough about “I brushed my teeth last week” and on to the Big Commission (B.C.).

Last winter, an oil exec saw my work in Legacy Gallery (thank you, Legacy!) and contacted me about a commission of his barrel-racing daughters. I followed up, didn’t hear from him, forgot about it. He called me again in June to ask about dates when I could come visit, I followed up, didn’t hear from him, forgot about it. (There’s a lesson I could stand to learn here about being persistent in my follow-up…a true salesperson would probably cringe at my lack of follow-through!).

He called again in late August and wanted me to come visit within a week due to the departure of one of the daughters for college; fortunately, my calendar could be cleared, so after he sent an airline ticket I headed off to his beautiful ranch in the northern Rockies (useful tip: always have a valid passport on hand!). Movies have been filmed at his ranch, and in fact a movie crew was setting up while I was there. I spent several days photographing the daughters on their horses, both at the spectacular ranch and at a high-school rodeo, and came home with 800 or so photos to work from. The daughters were all slender and gorgeous and looked great on their horses.

While at his ranch, I had the entire top floor of a breathtakingly remodeled barn to myself – bar, kitchen with acres of granite, sauna, hot tub, etc. And a limo driver who chauffeured me to and from the ranch/airport (60 miles each way). Sometimes, you gotta suffer for your art.

Bar N.jpg

Next installment: negotiating the deal and first sketches.


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