If you have the time, please drop in to visit Rima at The Hermitage. She has had an issue with one of her commissioned paintings and explains more eloquently than I could, the dilemas of working directly for customers. It's a very interesting post and one that will stay with me all day as I potter about my studio, finishing off and then preparing my next pieces.
Several times I've had similar experiences to hers, and each time I've handled them differently. The clearest point Rima makes is that neither the Artist nor the Commissioner can know exactly how a painting or sculpture will turn out as we are at the whim of so many external forces. From physical properties that change paint and clay, to the mood of the Artist on the day of creation and lets not forget our tricksy muses who love to sprinkle their influence like fairy dust.
So when you commission a piece of work, it's good to remember that you are buying so much more than paint on paper or clay. You are buying time, effort and often a piece of the Artist themselves.