~ by Maria Benner
One of the most unique, personal and unexpected gifts is a commissioned oil painting. So we get to learn a lot of personal information about complete strangers, such as their hobbies, their past travels, their pets, family, etc. Most commissions are ordered online from far away places, so we rarely get to meet the customer, or the person/people that the paintings are for, but we end up knowing a lot about them. People send us photos of their babies, dogs, and other things that they love. Sometimes we end up exchanging over 20 e-mails back and forth, talking about their lives, and how to incorporate the most important things tastefully into one painting. The best part is being in on the secret. One customer was working out the details for a painting for her father who owns a store in Anchorage. Scott had to coordinate with her a time when her dad wouldn’t be there so he could stop by and take photos of the store front. She had to be sneaky, because she couldn’t just ask her dad when he would be gone from the store, without raising suspicions. And when someone orders a custom beer painting, the customers have to scheme to find out what the gift recipients’ favorite beer is, and we give them suggestions for what questions to ask. We love being in on these secrets, and learning about people’s lives, because that is such a personal part of our business. Making that connection with customers makes the paintings that much more special.