I'm a professional realistic watercolor painter- Have won the largest national Best in Show prize competition-
Some woman walked into the gallery presently representing me and asked, after seeing some of my automotive paintings, can he do my husbands 41 Chevy?".
The gallery called and asked me if I would do it for $1500. I said yes if it's not very large a painting. I got off the phone and immediately wondered- Does the gallery expect the normal rate of 40% they get for my work that I do for me, and hang there to sell? I told them I wouldn't do it for 40% but more like 20%.
I think that the working commission % should be much less for these kind of commissions. A piece that I have to travel to the persons house, photograph their car, do rough sketches, approve those and do changes, then paint the actual painting. The gallery just has to collect the down payment and the final fee.
What do you think.
The question shouldn't be, "Does the gallery deserve 40%?" The question is, "Why would you agree to do the picture for no more than $1,500?"
The gallery is your rep. They deserve their normal percentage. However, no one should ever ask you if you can do a certain painting for so much. They should be asking you how much a particular painting assignment would cost.
If you said "Yes" to the figure offered, live with it. Don't whine about it. This is business. Learn from it.
Raise your prices.