Why? Because they're always a challenge. They push me to create something out of my comfort zone, something I wouldn't necessarily create on my own, and get me thinking, learning, and growing as a painter. Similarly, I just adore bringing someone else's vision to life, as it's thrilling to see the look on their faces (or hear how excited they are via email) when I give them the final product. There's just nothing like it.
So, today, I wanted to share the steps that went into creating my most recent commission, pictured above. Obviously, you can tell by looking at this painting that it is very different than a lot of the work that I'm doing these days, but, therein lies the challenge of commissions--and why I love them so much.
Here's what went into creating this painting for my fabulous student who commissioned it...
She contacted me with a description of what she wanted. We discussed prices and size, and settled on a 16" x 20" canvas (the same size as the last Hawaii painting that I did for her). I asked for more info about what she was envisioning, so she sent me a powerpoint with a bunch of inspirational images and maps of the Hawaiian islands (which I loved!)
I painted over the entire canvas with the background color, then used pencils to outline the border, began laying out the composition, and sketching out what I wanted it to look like.
I began adding some areas of contrast. Not sure why I got so into doing the compass right off of the bat, but it looks like I did :)
I began adding color, details, topography of the islands, etc. This is when the bulk of the painting happened, which basically just involves layering, layering, layering...
I started adding finer details, like the fronds of the palm trees, the plant in the front, the border details, the palm trees in the background, and the volcanoes and mountains on the islands.
I began adding the words/island names to the map. This actually took a lot of time and a VERY small paintbrush. When I was finished with the words, I sent some close-up images to the commissioner to ensure things were correct. She sent back a few changes, which I obviously made ;)
I went back over the entire background, which had gotten kind of patchy as I made changes (you can see this in the image above) and back over all of the words, to even things out. After doing this, I sent a final image to the commissioner--who gave it her stamp of approval--and then I delivered the painting to her! It's now hanging in her living room ;)
If you're an artist, I encourage you to start seeking them out. If you're not an artist, but love surrounding yourself with special and inspiring work, I encourage you to reach out to your favorite artist to commission something. I know it sounds expensive, but most artists will work with you to help you find a way to do what you want within your price range ;)
Now I'm off to paint! I hope you can find a way to infuse your day with a little inspiration...