Commission vs Inspired Paintings
Doing a commission for someone can often feel like selling out even if you rationalize that it pays the bills. I take it a step farther-I believe that doing a commission is an exercise in discipline. Creativity without discipline can be often without direction or a series of delayed satisfaction. Doing a commission allows an artist to step away from the canvas and the emotion connected to painting and work on the skills and sense of space and design which an inspired image may lose sight of in the passion of creating art. I believe that doing inspired art can become very subconscious and the artist almost loses his place in the scene. My best work is when I am barely present in front of the painting and I instinctually know what to do with the paintbrush. When you do a commission there is no bending on the what the image will become, there is also a bit more of a separation between the artist and the canvas.
I think one way to make the commission process more easily agreeable to the artist is to use Photoshop as a means for proofing the work. Photoshop can make the proofing process easier because you can use elements from photographs and do multiple options and ideas-you still have the option of free creativity but it's faster and more easily duplicated for multiple options to show the prospective client. Any way you can keep the time and effort of the initial proofing of a commission down and make it easier for sending out proofs for the client-the easier and less expensive it will be for doing commissions and the more enjoyment you can get out of the final process.