View Full Version : Should I do a "replacement" painting for a commission?

05-20-2005, 09:01 PM
Here's one.... a lady asked me to do a portrait of her daughter and gave me a copy of a photo that in fact was the same as she was currently having framed.

I delivered, she loved it!!! No problem there.

Now as she is ready to get it framed, she just "can't believe" she had me do the same pose as the photo she already had framed. Now she asks if I will do a different pose and just keep the first portrait for my portfolio?

As if???

What do you think?


Kitty Wallis
05-20-2005, 09:17 PM

Her mistake, which is easliy fixed, BTW. You did your part to her satisfaction.

In my portrait work, if the client has any kind of complaint, I do start over, rather than attempting to 'fix' the work. Then I let the client choose the one they want. If neither suits, I cancel the commission, without any deposit. This relieves me of any pressure thoughout the process. In 45+ years of portrait commisssions, I have had less then 5 'situations'.

This case with your client is a new one on me. I can't believe she had the nerve to say her request out loud.

terence p
05-20-2005, 09:20 PM
If I am commissioned to do a portrait and the person is unsatisfied with it I am willing to make changes or even refund the money if any was given and keep the painting for a portfolio. But in this case I think it is unfair of her to ask you to redo it just because she made a decision she was unhappy with.
( I can not understand why people want a painting of a beautiful photograph to begin with. It would be hard to improve on it. I often suggest that rather than my copying the photo, perhaps they have a favorite candid shot they like that could used instead). If it was a close friend or family member I would redo it. If it was a stranger who commissioned you than I would be reluctant, unless it is important to maintain good will. Perhaps she could pay half price for the second. Your time is valuable
Im am never comfortable in dealing with the payment issues so maybe others will have better suggestions.

I see kitty responded while I was writing my comments. She is more experienced so I would follow her advice.

05-20-2005, 09:21 PM
I agree...if she was ditzy enough to make such a mistake, it's up to her to get another photo pose framed! Good grief! The nerve of some people!

05-20-2005, 09:30 PM
Alrighty then!

The project came through our mutual framer and the framer and I laughed at the time on why does she want the same pose?

I thinks it's like having a dressmaker make me a dress with fabric I picked out and then saying the dress is lovely but I want different fabric......


05-20-2005, 11:26 PM
This reminds me of the time I was selling businesscards for a printing company. One customer didn't pay his phone bill, and the phone company cut off his service. Instead of paying for a reconnect, he went out and got a cell phone. He wanted me to reprint new cards for free with his new number. I told him I'd give him a discount on a new set of cards, but I wasn't responsible for the change in his phone number. Sheesh!

Laura Shelley
05-20-2005, 11:32 PM
I hope this lady can learn to live with her own decisions without trying to force other people to pay the bill. Especially starving artists! I used to just go along with what portrait customers suggested, even if I thought it was a bad idea; now I take charge and TELL them what they want and why they want it. :) Most people actually have nary a clue about such things and are grateful to be led! But it did take me a while to get to that point of confidence.

IMO, she should pay for what she ordered and give away either the portrait or the photo as a gift to someone. Then she can commission another painting. I wouldn't give her 50% off as a reward for bad judgment. Fifteen percent is my standard discount for paintings commissioned all at the same time.


05-21-2005, 12:10 AM
Yah, "as if".
Add that to your list of questions for future clients. Who would've thought?

Laura, great suggestion it be given as a gift (to a grandparent, boyfriend, aunt, uncle...) and then another one commissioned for the mom.

Linda, "as if"! Another one....who would've thought?

Thanks for sharing these beauties! Whew!

05-21-2005, 10:53 AM

I got an idea.
You can tell her that you can put the painting in your portfolio but she has to lease the space. You know how space is expensive in this modern and consume driven society :D

Best regards,


P.S. by the end of the contract, either she gives up or pays the residual value and gets the painting :rolleyes:

05-21-2005, 04:54 PM
NO WAY should you keep that one for your 'portfolio' and do another one- heaven knows what excuse she would come up with for not paying for the 2nd one! Tell her you will gladly put your portfolio 'where the sun don't shine'

Deborah Secor
05-22-2005, 12:51 AM
Wait, wait, wait--have the framer suggest that he could simply refit another photo enlarged to the same dimensions in the origninal photo frame! I mean, come on, shooting and printing a photo is far, far, far easier and less hassle, even with refitting, than to ask an artist to do another one! Good grief! If there were several shots made at the same time another one could easily be chosen and printed.

Either that or suggest she could rip up the photo and put the painting in the frame instead...no, wait, that would be as rude as she was.

Hope you have a better sense of humor and calmer demeanor than I have! :rolleyes:


05-22-2005, 08:48 AM

I got an idea.
You can tell her that you can put the painting in your portfolio but she has to lease the space. You know how space is expensive in this modern and consume driven society :D

Best regards,


P.S. by the end of the contract, either she gives up or pays the residual value and gets the painting :rolleyes:

Sorry Bringer- I wrote my response before reading yours- I actually like your idea- she pays you for advertising her daughter ha ha

05-22-2005, 08:49 AM
Perhaps you could explain to her the hours and material costs to her and maybe suggest she give either the painting or the photo to a grandparent or favorite Aunt but that as a starving artist you can't afford to eat that cost yourself.


05-22-2005, 11:59 AM
If she really wants a different portrait, offer it to her at a discount for repeat business, say 25% off from the original price. This points up the value I see in having a written, signed agreement. She's the one who specified what reference to use and what she wanted, so she needs to live with it. I have always liked the saying about "why should I make your crisis my own?" This is her crisis of decision not yours.

Here's another thought, if she really wants the photo and the painting to be different she can have the photo scanned, flipped horizontally, maybe rotated slightly and given somekind of background treatment such as a fuzzed vignette or put into b/w or sepia, etc. All kinds of things can be done to the photo and it will be different at very little extra cost to her, then she will have 2 distinct pieces of art: but she needs to pay you!

05-22-2005, 03:27 PM
I am late to this...but I have to say I like Deborah's suggestions!

What chutzpah!!!!! :D

Oh well...I don't do commissions. Reading the couple of threads back here about other peoples' experiences I think I will continue to not do commissions!


05-23-2005, 08:24 PM
I learned a phrase many years ago that has been invaluable. Here it is:

"That doesn't work for me! Sorry."

If she doesn't get it, lay it out verbally for her. "Let me clarify what you are asking for. Are you asking me to paint you another portrait because YOU made a mistake?" Sheesh.