How Much for a Quickie?

One of my goals in writing this blog is to educate potential clients about what’s involved in commissioning high quality portraiture. Sometimes people’s expectations can really throw me for a loop, so I consider this post to be my first public service announcement. Based on the following, I think I’ve got my work cut out for me.

The above portrait is one I recently completed. A larger version is on the homepage of my website. If you keep clicking on the image you’ll be able to see enlargements of details and see some of what went into creating this challenging commission. Click on each enlargement and the magnification will continue to increase. It’s a portrait of the Hart-Cohan family. It’s a posthumous portrait of the mother, Arielle Hart. The size of the portrait is 4′ x 6′ and it took over a year to complete.

I just received an e-mail from a potential client. The e-mail read as follows,”Need a painting by Friday of my parents and/or family. Similar to one on your homepage. I need a price quote ASAP Sir. Thank you!”

Until next time…


  1. I could not find anyone to give me a quote on mowing my lawn by Friday!!! Maybe they are in such awe of your talent that they think that talent bypasses all need for effort? This has had me laughing for ten minutes!

  2. Oh goodness, I’ve run into this stuff before – especially around Christmas & Valentine’s Day & birthdays. “I forgot to get Pookie a Christmas present. Could you do a portrait of her? I can stop by in two days to pick it up.”

    Sure, I have this magic wand that I gracefully wave over a canvas and these things, I can just whip them out like an assembly line. Would you like fries with that as well?

  3. James Harris says

    Don’t you do all that on computers now anyway? Surly you could knock it out by Friday. I’m surprised they even asked for a quote. Usually people like that want you to work for free. “Exposure” is good enough for compensation isn’t it?

  4. This is hilarious! Love the blog, Marvin!

  5. Anna Kim says

    That’s a funny story!

  6. Alan Carroll says

    It makes me so mad when people assume I can just hit a big red ‘create’ button and out it pops.

    On the other hand though, I remember an apocryphal story told by Maroger about Tintoretto. The Council of Ten announced a competition to see who could produce the best cartoon for a painting the theme of which was Paradise. Artists were given a week to submit their sketches. According to Maroger, Tintoretto put the week to good use and produced the finished painting measuring more than thirty feet!

  7. Dan dos Santos says

    Wow. She’s reading Adam Rex’s ‘True Meaning of Smekday’. Fantastic book, and somewhat ironic that she’s reading a book written by an illustrator!

    • Good catch Dan. That was the family’s favorite book. The mother would read to the kids and assume the voices of the different characters. You’re the first to pick up on that.

      • Oh my god. I can’t tell you how moved I am by this. Knowing that my book meant enough to them to have it included, and in a portrait by a painter I’ve admired since art school…anyway, I’m overwhelmed. Thanks for calling my attention to this, Dan.

        • What a small world. Thanks for your high praise. I’m sure many have experienced great joy through your work. As artists we are so fortunate to be able to make our way while inspiring others.

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