Painting on Demand

I find commission work,
or painting on demand,
very different than painting for myself.  I spend most of my time creating for myself, exploring something that I find interesting, a medium
or color or an idea.

Commission work is usually someone else’s idea,
and the artist (me) shows up to interpret that joint vision.
It is fraught with the potential for problems… and can also be a source of great pleasure!

Interpreting the vision to
bring about the best result relies
on what words can describe,
what the client’s expectations are
(in their mind’s eye), and what
the artist (me) envisions when
I hear the request — even when
there are pictures to work from,
there is still the interpretation
of the images into artwork.

Sometimes commission work
is pure pleasure… When you resonate with the subject, when you resonate with the client, and when you are at the
top of your game!  Even when you’ve never painted a big old hairy sheep!

This is not a final image, but an underpainting… He won’t look splotchy and strange!

The lapels colors are off, too bright. Even the strokes are mediocre.

In the case of a reproduction, which I am doing for the
DAR, I am working from a very old damaged portrait,
and interpreting it into present day materials…
We discussed recreating
the portrait as it is now,
faded and degraded,
but the DAR decided to
have me interpret George
way he looked when he was new. It will hang and someday fade to what it is today!  Re-envisioning
and executing a creative reproduction means
I must be in that good centered painting place.

This is not true of infilling damaged areas, where  expertise sustains me, right.

What about when the mood doesn’t strike me? Being a practicing professional helps, experience with materials, with pushing forward in practice sessions.  Sometimes pushing forward by showing up sets the tone and I arrive
in a creative space.  Having experience with a variety of strokes, and then setting up for a “practice” session, can help me find my way.

And, it can also result in a bad day when work needs to be redone…
Always off-putting, discouraging, and sets up a feeling of failure that has to be overcome!
The two images above, underpaintings of George Washington, may not look that different to you, but I was not at the top of my game that day I created the second image.
The next day, while the paint was still wet, I went in and changed the lapels
to the proper lighter colors (the first image), and saved the areas I messed up.

Thank you Universe for oil paints!

Sometimes, I know that I am going to blow it if I touch an image…
then I wait.  Especially with watercolors, which are unsave-able if I blow it.
I have to start over if I blow it.  Then I wait.
Not ideal if money is an issue, but sometimes it is what it is…
I fool around until my best artist self shows up!
Above, friends who are waiting for my best self to show up…

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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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7 Responses to Painting on Demand

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Creating on demand is hard. The people who get that are really good. I struggled with that when I had my cabinet shop, especially when people wouldn’t listen to reason and, of course, when they wouldn’t pay.

    I have enjoyed following you process on the commissions you’ve shared. And we love Smokey!


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