As far as I am concerned, the commerce came naturally along with the art.
If I were to really put it in chronology, this was how it was and still is:
1) I was bored and dejected.
2) I felt like painting, so I painted.
3) As I painted, I blogged about it.
4) I felt good about my creations and gave a few away as gifts. My friends liked my paintings. So did some friends of theirs.
5) Some friends eventually felt sorry for me and bought a few paintings which I gave away at pitiful prices.
6) I painted more and more and learnt so much that I seemed to have gotten better at it and people actually wanted them for a price.
7) I started selling at decent prices.
8) I painted a few orders.
9) I exhibited just because I felt that was the next logical thing to do, as my house was screaming colours from all nooks and corners.
10) Art was beginning to give me commerce.
Having said all this, I state that art and each artwork is sacred for me. I never had a push strategy for it. It was a pull thing that happened. I still paint because I love to and if anyone wants to pay me for its value, it's a great thing to happen. Else, I am not getting into a deal at all.
I slowly realised that the commerce of art was not very artful at all! When you got the value for an artwork you felt great, exhilarated and had enough money to buy supplies for the next two canvases!
Some down sides of art-commerce:
1) People say they desperately want a piece and then after you have gone ahead and framed it , they do not get back.
2) People comment on public threads that they want a particular artwork, but when you quote them the price, they disappear. This happened to me and at least two other artists I know.
3) I recently carried a painting with me when travelling to my home town as someone desperately wanted my artwork on his wall. I had to go through all kinds of manoeuvres to get the painting through security as there was some issue about carrying wooden frames in the aircraft. Anyway, after I reached my destination the person never responded, even after my messaging him repeatedly. I had to leave the painting back in my Mom's. It has been more than two weeks since I have come back but .....
These are some of the small issues that I have faced in my limited horizon. I say limited because I have not voluntarily ventured into the commercial side of art.
I think all artists would agree with me that art is sacred to them. They do not like to go into negotiations with people who do not understand the value of art.
To me each work is a value proposition. Respect, beauty and hardwork are packed into each piece.
However, I know that art and commerce shall never meet. They will always go parallel to each other!