Thursday, November 8, 2012

doctor Don

I was hanging out with The Donald this morning.  Not that Donald.  This Donald has way better hair.

My mother in law asked me to do a pastel portrait of Magnum's stepdad.  I suppose I could refer to him as my step-father-in-law, but I'd rather just say "Don".  One syllable vs. five syllables wins.

I was flattered she asked and knew it would be fun since I've known Don nearly as long as I've known Magnum.  She'd asked me about the portrait prior to their visit last weekend and said she would bring a couple of photos.

The photos she brought, though, were from a few years ago when Don was a bit heavier.  Plus, he wasn't rocking the awesome chin-strap beard he currently rocks.  She snapped a bunch of photos while they were here, then honed in on one to use as a reference.

So I was playing with Don and it's been fun, BUT I'm having some difficulty.  My mother in law wants to pay me for the portrait.

I have NO idea what to charge.  I want to just do it for free.  I may not always agree with her.  We may wonder sometimes if Magnum was switched at birth.  (Really, Mag and I have had conversations.  Like, "we should look for your real family, I bet we'd like them!").   But for the most part, we get along well and maintain the relationships on our shared interests and just avoid the unshareds.  

There's also the fact that they've always been very generous with us.  If I were to charge for such a request, it would be a negligible amount in comparison with the support they've given us over the years.  

She brought up paying me a few times, and I just brushed it off, not knowing how to answer.  Does giving it to her at no charge "cheapen" it for her?  I've had this problem before,  *COUGH* GUANO* COUGH* and I'm not sure if I'm happy with how that went either.

I guess I need outside advice.  Rambling on the blog hasn't helped.


  1. Does Magnum share any physical feature with his mother that lets you all know that he came out of her? :)

    The situation sounds awkward. When I've gone back and forth over money with a relative, usually one of us quickly gives in; it's over. I understand your feelings.

    If she keeps insisting, tell her to treat the boys to something... maybe?

    Oh, are you going to post the finished commissioned portrait?

  2. I would do the same thing as you. It always feels uncomfortable to accept payment from friends or family for doing something you enjoy doing.

    Still, it's obvious people think highly enough of your talents to request artwork from you. And you ARE taking time to do create something... time that you might otherwise spend doing something for yourself or family. So some sort of compensation is justified. My advice is to think of a dollar amount that you feel is too high and then ask for half, or even a quarter of that amount. It won't be so much that you feel guilty but it might be enough to make the buyer feel good about paying you.

  3. Put it back on her. Whatever she feels she should compensate you, then go with it. Or, have her reimburse you in art supplies.

    I have MISSED you! Sorry I haven't been around much at all in the past few months. This dern work business sure cuts into my social-internetz time!

  4. I am like you in that regard. I always feel uncomfortable accepting money. I've been asked a few times at work to bake cupcakes for a grandson's birthday, etc. I usually just ask them what they feel comfortable paying, or just ask them for enough money to cover the supplies.
    Perhaps you can ask for a gift card to your favorite art supply store and let her pick the amount when she gets there. I'm sure she'll want to show her appreciation, and this way it's open to her to decide how much.

  5. How about if you make it a Christmas gift or another gift of some sort, or put it this way, "I know this is something you really wanted and for all of your kindness to us in the past this is a gift from us to you" feel free to change the wording to suit your needs :)

    Seriously I say frame it up and wrap it up as a gift.

  6. "I was really flattered you thought enough of me to do a portrait of Don; it's something I knew I would enjoy doing, but thought it a bit presumptuous to do on my own. I appreciate that you want to pay me for the work -- but really, it would mean a lot more to Magnum and me if we could give it to you as a gift, instead of doing it as a favor. Especially after all you do for all of us."

    Y'know, all Little-Drummer-Girl-like (and assuming it's how you actually feel, of course).

    And as far as the sketches you did as going-away mementos for some of our friends, don't *cough!* blame me. It was you-know-who's idea regarding compensation -- and no one can out-gift Guanowife.
    No one.

  7. If someone has the money and has let you know they want to pay for your services, you should value your work enough to accept payment. Doesn't matter if it is family or not. That is my opinion.

  8. When my sister put out a CD I insisted on buying it from her. I know she appreciated it. We shouldn't assume that our family members should not be paid for something they've done with their talents, neither should be expected not to be paid for something we do for them. BUT, I do think you could offer it to her as a Christmas gift. I think that might cover the bases for you all.?