Commissions are a different story though. I am being paid to make the image look like the photograph. It has to be exact. It has to be perfect, or at least pretty damn close. I can't help but worry whether or not I am capturing the essence of the person. The emotion has to be right. That "special" look in the eyes has to be there. All things that I have to think about. All things that make me nervous while I am painting. IT can drive me crazy sometimes, but I do them anyways. Why do I do them then? Why do I put myself through this? Well, I have not had anyone complain or reject the paintings once they were done. In fact, I have made a few people cry after seeing my work. People seem to like what I do. That is always a good feeling. It's what makes doing commissions worth it, and the money definitely helps.
I started painting number one of three, in a series for a client. The first image is of the client as a baby. It's a cute image but I have a long ways to go before it looks right. Here's what I did today:
As you can see from the original photo above, I have a long ways to go before I finish. Today I worked mainly on the underpainting and getting rid of pencil marks. When I first start a painting, the carbon from my drawing always mixes with the paint and changes the color. It also shows through the first layer of paint. My underpainting absorbs the pencils and adds a layer of paint down so that when I work on the dark areas, the paint isn't as transparent. Also, the underpainting helps me make any corrections to the shape of the face, etc.