[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"][/caption] People will often assume that the patrons who commission me to create a custom oil painting tell me what to paint. They may decide what vineyard, landscape, or garden they would like as my subject, but ultimately I must decide what inspires me. Just like a chef you really want them to choose their recipes. Here’s an analogy: if you went to fine restaurant, where you admire the cuisine, you would make selections from the menu that the chef has carefully prepared. You would not go back to the kitchen and offer the chef some recipes. Even if they are great recipes they are not what the chef is inspired or prepared to cook. And it probably would be a bit awkward if you started directing. You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. Now if you have some specific recipes, and you would like the benefit of the chef’s experience, then that would be like hiring an illustrator. An illustrator is an artist who you hire to execute your vision. An artist is someone you commission because you are inspired by his or her vision. I respect the fact that my patrons are making a significant investment when they commission a large-scale canvas. So I like to give them some input and a sense of what to expect without compromising the creative process. So I’ll create a series of field studies and then upload them to annrea.com for my patrons to preview. Then I’ll suggest which few will work best to interpret on a larger scale. This way my patrons have a reasonable expectation about what they are going to receive and they get to have some choice. I’ve found that this approach helps my collectors feel much more at ease about the commission process.