Saturday, January 3, 2009

On the Idea of Commissions: Lunch in Italy


"Lunch in Italy" oil 30" x 40"

In writing to an artist friend this week (I'll leave them anonymous for now), I learned that they had recently completed a commission based on a client photo but with the addition of a great deal of imagination...for starters, the photo was taken at mid day but the requested painting was for a sunset! (In my book this is one talented painter who can pull that off!) This got me to thinking about commissions in general (and wondering, among other things, how one might attract more, because some prepaid work at this point would be lovely)!

At any rate, I started looking at a few of the commissions I've done over the years, and this one came to mind as a good starting post. The client came to me with several rolls of snapshots of a trip to Italy, where he had proposed to his girlfriend. I was allowed to pick and choose among them, and recreate a place I had not yet been to (though I did make a trip to Italy some years later). There was a fair amount of invention in this as well; although the cat is one of many they photographed in Cinque Terre (and as anyone who's been there will tell you, there's no shortage of feline subject matter), the wine and food were largely fabricated. The wall also underwent some painterly restructuring, though it is based on some actual wall. As a finishing touch, the wife's name and year of 'vintage' were added to the bottle in an elegant script.

9 comments:

  1. I think imagination is what it's all about and I love how you've added yours to this painting. It's fun and I'm sure very meaningful to its recipients. I just found your blog and I really enjoy it!

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  2. What a wonderful gift this is. I love how we get to peek at a little of your subconscious with the portions of the painting that you fabricated. :o)

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  3. Thank you so much for the New Years wishes and for your kind comments!. You're a bright spot as well. Concerning the idea of commissions, I think that to be commissioned to create a painting is such a blessing. That's a golden opportunity for us as creatives to really show our ability and use our creative license. My last commission was to paint my clients house as a night scene. They gave me reference shots of the house during the day. And I loved it. The finished painting was more expressive and the client was happy!

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  4. Hi Doug, Thanks for your note. I do like doing commission work. Every now and then I have to turn something down because it's too far out of my element. Like I got asked to paint a football player once.

    I wish I got asked more often to do commissions. I'm not sure how to sell the idea. Any thoughts?

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  5. Hi Sheila,
    Subconcious? I'm not sure I'm even conscious most days! (Is there a "Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich" in there somewhere?) I guess when I say, fabricated, I mean I had to make up the other client-requested items (wine, bread, cheese) and try and make them fit the lighting of the painting enough to pass.
    But, thanks, you're so kind!

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  6. Thanks, Paula! As someone (me) who usually meticulously sets up compositions it is interesting to work in 'collage' format now and then...

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  7. Really like this piece; it must have been (should have been) quite well received by the commissioner! Also v. much enjoyed your DSFDF Victorian house painting -- found it interesting that we cropped it quite similarly/were drawn to the same portion of the painting. Interesting not least because we would seem -- from looking out our respective blogs -- to have quite different "usual" subjects ... However, as you said, if time/energy were wholly elastic, we'd paint everything ...

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  8. Oh, and if you are ever again asked to paint a football player, feel free to send them my way. I have three football-obsessed boys, and I spend far more time than I'd ever envisioned sketching football players/scenes ...

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  9. Thanks Jill, and I'll keep you in mind in case I get asked again for a football player; certainly a posssibility here in BroncoManiaLand.

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Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.