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 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: