Well, it wasn’t easy

Jay Hanna ends his handy book on Marine carving with a story. It seems that he was interested in how a talented shipbuilder had accomplished a particularly masterful bit of carving. The old gentleman reflected for a while and then commented: well, it wasn’t easy.
That’s the story behind this hoop tray portrait ordered by a cardiovascular surgeon from New Jersey. Poor photos, off angles, no information on the builder, year of construction, model, or any of the usual stuff you expect for a commission. I had to correct for perspective on the design because he could never seem to get me a photo in the real profile. Somehow I finalized the design and carved this portrait. When asked by a friend how I had managed to do it, I thought about Jay Hanna’s story and said: Well, it wasn’t easy.

The surgeon was overjoyed at the portrait, but not sufficiently so that he paid the balance due. I was grateful that it has always been my practice on this sort of commission work to take a substantial deposit up front to cover materials, research, and costs. Since then, if a prospective client balks, I walk. for further information read my post on putting curses on sales until paid for:


2 Replies to “Well, it wasn’t easy”

  1. Doctors are notorious for not paying or paying on time. I’d send him a bill monthly. Maybe write reminder or overdue on the envelope for the mailman to see. 🙂 I love your work on this. I’m sure it wasn’t easy given the circumstances. That’s why I don’t like to do anything to order.

  2. Doing stuff to order can be wonderful or a torment. When I reopen my carving business I’ll be selling what I’ve made, and being very choosy about the custom work. By the way, your work is really lovely!

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