My friend Amy knows that commissions are a little difficult for me because I don’t like someone telling me what to do. (Only a little difficult, Amanda?) So when she asked for one and told me to “surprise” her, I was ever so grateful for her submission to my artistic ego. Was she just indecisive? Or did she trust me? I didn’t care. She gave me a handful of photographs of a landscape special to her family, and I sat down to think about how to knock her socks off.
I started with mood. The landscape is hunting acreage, and I honed in on a photo showing the place in winter—tall skinny bare trees, open grassy field, a small fire pit. It felt quiet, even a little reverential, which I know reflects the relationship between the adult and the children in the image when they share this place. A second photo was full of details that I knew would personalize the piece, including the figures that I wanted to be recognizable. I can get very detailed when working with pens and watercolor, and if I went with this medium, I’d stay small to deliver a sense of intimacy. I drew it in pencil first, then added ink to the foreground. I painted the background and was even happier I’d chosen winter woods because the earthy colors make the bright bits of color in the foreground pop. Those red heads are really working!
I was so confident Amy would like her painting that I captured her reaction on video. She squealed a little. It was great. The painting will be a Christmas gift for her husband, and I asked if she thought he would cry when he opened it. Maybe, she said. I will reveal his reaction in the January newsletter. Fingers crossed! Because when someone cries, you’ve won gift giving.
Later is what?
After settling into various desk jobs, I always said I'd get back to painting later in life, and later is now. Again means that I tried once before. I decided to write about my painting endeavor, too, as a learning tool, an accountability tool, and to stay sharp in case I have to go back to a desk job. Again.
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