Commissions are a great challenge, especially when you know the client just loves what you do and trusts in your work. There’s less pressure and more sense of what is important to convey in the painting.
This was one such case. Money left by a grandmother and a decision to buy a piece of art. A young lady came to me with such a proposal and connected straight away with a small oil I’d painted on board called ‘ Sunshine and Showers’ but wanted something bigger. The idea of the two weathers, a metaphor on life and the connection she had with this person a defining decision.
With BAAMFEST and my own solo exhibition, work didn’t start on it until August. With butterflies in the stomach, the first paint went on. I soon realised it was not going to be a case of a straightforward copy and experimented with underpainting and blending colours in oil and acrylic.
On a small scale, the subtleties of blending and soft areas worked well but didn’t translate into a larger piece, so the palette knife and shapers came out replacing most of the brushes and with it stronger colours and more contrast with impasto and a good use of acrylic mediums to get the right texture and finish. I used Golden acrylic mediums and paints and have a great feel for how they work and some of the colour mixes.
Bolder strokes with greater depth of colour and lighter areas that bounced forward, it was a good exercise in composition and making the painting work. It took several weeks of coming back to it, knowing it wasn’t working and then redefining areas so that it all came together. The sky and getting the two atmospheres in one piece became more about expression and painting than reality, and once I realised this, it started to pull together as the yellows, mauves and blues started to work their magic sitting next to each other.
On the day of delivery, I was concerned that it was a little too far from the original,but was happy with it myself and thankfully so was she. I recently went back to get a photograph of it, to get a good image and it immediately rang true the instant I looked at it. On a contemporary deep canvas measuring 80cm square it makes a great impact on the room.
What a lovely way to remember someone and for them to always be there with you.