Friday, September 16, 2011


I have been stressed out for quite a while that I had portraits of all the pets except Cotton.  It bothered me so much that I've been keeping my eyes peeled for an artist who could paint him.   Then I came upon an artist whose work I really liked.  The dogs in her paintings seemed to show such personality and character, I thought she could paint what I was looking for.  I sent her an email.

We talked a bit, I told her I had between $200-250 to spend.... if she had an amazing idea, I might be able to go as high as $300.  She asked for stories and pictures of him.  I explained that his dementia has left him afraid of the camera, and that most of the pictures I have already are inside (she wanted photos in natural light).  So, I took him outside and bribed him with lots of cheese.  Then I went through scads of pictures that I had from before so that she could his true character, when he was relaxed and having fun instead of being stressed out by the camera.

(This is about the time when I posted that other pic of Cotton, and the Zadge stepped in to fix it for me)

A few days later, she responded and suggested painting a picture of him based on a photo, in which he looks really stressed.  Maybe she could alter the photo to give him a more relaxed expression, but I wasn't feeling it.  I didn't get the impression that she understood Cotton's character.

I considered bowing out - I had a photo for the portrait now - but I felt guilty for having I'd taken up her time.  She made a comment about Tallulah, so I suggested that maybe she start by painting Tallulah.  I sent her some pictures, she picked one out that I love and I thought we were on track.   Then she told me that my budget of $300 would get me a 6" by 6" painting.


First, I was tempted to ask if that came with a built in magnifying glass.
Next, I wondered when we'd shot past my preferred budget of $200-250.

Once again, I consider bowing out; but at this point I'd taken up even more of her time and so was even more reluctant to disappoint.  I'd seen what she calls sketches, which are really paintings with less detail.  They're good though, in an almost art deco sort of way.  They start at $47 each, so I suggested that maybe she can paint me a sketch of each of the pets.  I listed the pictures I wanted the poses based off of, and asked her what she thought.

She responded that she thought that was a good idea, except she'd want to do different poses.  She sent me the pictures she'd base the poses off of, and I didn't like two of the three.  She was still wanting to use the picture of Stressed out Cotton, and she picked one of Tallulah that was really unattractive.  Oh, and the price was $300.

I lost sleep over it that night, but finally decided that I had to bow out.   It sucks, because I feel like I've disappointed her.  Even more, I'm disappointed myself.   Once we started talking about it, I got my heart set on having portrait paintings done of the pets.  Looking at her work, I would expect that they would have been amazing, but I'm not confident that they'd be a reflection of my dogs.  Aside from that, they are beyond my means.

You know what sucks the most?  Somebody out there is going to have a portrait painting of Tallulah.  That photo of Tallulah from that I love?  She  loves it too, and asked my permission to paint it.  The painting will be significantly larger than 6x6, and will be displayed it in an upcoming show.  Somebody at that gallery with much deeper pockets than me will get to take home a portrait of my girl.



  1. I would have sold her the picture of Tallulah for $300. :)

    Seriously, though, never feel bad about backing out of something that does not feel right. We work hard for our money and deserve to spend on the "perfect" things in life. If she didn't "get" Cotton, then she didn't need to paint him.

    As for using Tallulah's picture, I think it would have been nice if she offered you the smaller painting at half price (or even free- sheesh, 6 inches??), so you would have at least a little something for your consent for her to use Tallulah's likeness (which will earn her more $$).

    One more thing, whoever buys it will only have a two dimensional Tallulah, whereas you have the real deal! :)

  2. I agree with Dawn, she should have offered a sketch for using your image!

  3. I'm glad you bowed out also and agree that a fair trade should have been made for the use of Tallulah.

  4. Thanks guys, I am feeling a little less guilty.

    In the artist's defence, she did say that she would offer me a replication of the portrait she does of Tallulah. I am unsure if she meant that she'd send me the replication as a thank you, or if she'd offer to sell it to me. If I hear back from her again (I did ask to see it when it's done) I guess I'll figure that out.

  5. this does NOT seem right. She owes you something for using the image, maybe not legally, but to be nice!!!! I shudder when I think of the amount of money we spent on the 2 family portraits we had done a couple years ago. I feel like you get sucked in not realizing that to get a photo of any decent size it is going to cost an arm and a leg. I hope you will find someone else to do the portrait for a more reasonable fee.