Like any other artist, I get requests for paintings. If contact is via my business channels I nearly always say yes. I love commissions! They usually force to me to try new subjects I wouldn't be drawn to normally.
Then, of course, there are the friend and family requests. Frequently, requests are in the form of, "you should totally paint ___". Often said friend or family member is inspired by something I've already done and think their idea will go well with it. Sometimes, they are totally correct! I absolutely should have painted a few plant based Pokemon. Or, ya, mirepoix, that's universally recognizable and... marketable? Even my Dirigible Plums were a suggestion from my sister and have turned out to be the most profitable print I've ever made.
Then there's the requests I say yes to but either struggle to get right or just outright DON'Twant to do. For example, about 6 years ago I agreed to help a friend with his metal band album cover. I failed to ask what he wanted before I said yes... and had to back out. It was far beyond my talents. We're talking knights fighting a dragon in front of the stained glass windows of a medieval church. I'm primarily a botany artist. None of that is within my comfort zone... especially that early in my painting career. Another favor for a family member should have been fine: Christmas Elves and Reindeer playing baseball at the North Pole for a children's book. I sketched for DAYS and still couldn't find a good style. I just could not get my pencil to do what I needed.
...And then there's the eggplant. One of my first requests ever was from my twin sister: three artichokes with more and more bites out of them. Easy, done. Plants with a little weirdness? Definitely my forte. So why when she requested an Eggplant with a Silly Straw did I just not want to do it? A smooth round, boring purple ball of a vegetable with a complicated shiny straw coming out of it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love cooking with eggplant; Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. Yet, the thought of painting one was far down on my list.
So I put it off... for about 6 years. Emily asked, politely, about once a year whenever I complained about what I should do next. Oh ya, I'm going to do that....eventually. And then I would go find something, anything, else to paint as an excuse. I just... didn't want to paint that damn eggplant.
Well, of course, I did finally get around to it, cursing Emily the entire time. Not only did she want a silly straw, she wanted it to be pink and white striped? Stripes on a shiny curved, twisting object? Aaaaagony. I'd send her texts saying, "I hate your stupid straw!" She'd just send a "lol" back. Meanwhile, my poor husband who shares an office with me was just listening to me curse under my breath for a good 4 hours. After all those hours of discomfort, I think I ended up with something pretty damn cute. And as much as I hate to admit it, it's very much cohesive with my "silly" style.
So thanks, Emily, for forcing me out of my comfort zone. Your 6 years of patience paid off in the form of a pretty adorable, unique work of art.
But know this: I will NEVER paint a striped silly straw ever again. YOU HEAR ME? Stripes OR wiggles, NOT BOTH.
Love you, Twinny.
Now go out and paint that thing you don't want to paint.... it may just turn out pretty damn rad!