Portraits of People, Animals, HomesWhere people might pay X dollars for a painting of a generic dog, they might easily pay 10 x X dollars for a painting of THEIR dog. You don't even have to do the painting based on the real live dog. If you ask them for 3 or 4 photos of the dog, it can do just as nicely for a basis.
People love having paintings and drawings of themselves, their kids, their pets, their homes, their cars and boats. It traces back to the idea of old English manors having huge paintings of the family members. It was a luxury that only the most wealthy could afford. In modern days, many more people have spare money that they can use for these reasons. When they commission a painting of something they really love, it seems far less like a frivolous activity. It seems more like a lifetime purchase that they will truly enjoy and treasure.
Of course the trick is that the painting needs to be flattering. If the commission is for a painting of husband and wife in love, and you make them look like hideous monsters from the deep, don't expect your buyers to be thrilled!
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