Friday, June 26, 2015

The Commission Process Step 1: Shirley and Roger

For a couple years, I did almost nothing but commissions ( and needed a break from them, but this latest one sounded so appealing I had to accept, and I thought it’d be fun to document its progress and process on my blog.  

Shirley is a fellow artist- she does exquisite black and white photography.  I met her and her husband Roger on the art fair circuit a while back, and we had such fun that soon we requested to be neighbors whenever we were at the same fair. They recently relocated and are in the midst of redecorating.  They contacted me to do a piece for their new dining room, and sent me some pics of their space to give me an idea of where it would live.    


I started the discussion that I normally do when beginning a commission to find out what their requirements are: size, color, imagery, and any other “givens.” Then I usually brainstorm with the clients to see if there are any other images or materials that are possibilities- I have used everything from house plans to baby footprints to Indian arrowheads, depending on the client. This part is fun and insures that it is personal to the client.  Roger and Shirley, however, opted not to go that route. Although the color palette is important to her in that it works in the room, she didn't want to restrict me with anything else.  Shirley said she wanted to keep it light and airy with plenty of open space, but “didn’t want to get specific because she wanted to allow my creative juices to flow!!!” WOW. Music to my ears- somebody who gets it!

Next step was a visit to see the space, take some pictures, get swatches of paint and fabric that are in the room, and tie down some details. 

We used a square of brown craft paper on the wall to help us determinate the size.  We looked through my portfolio, and I took note of what pieces they liked and why, and which didn’t appeal to them. This helps me get a better sense of their tastes, within the framework of what I do.  They really like botanicals like grasses, leaves, and ferns, so those more than likely will be incorporated. The colors are set- and they are colors that are part of my recurring palette. If she‘d requested lime green and fluorescent pink- I would have had to take a pass. Since they are so open and this is well within what I normally do, I am going to work on two paintings simultaneously so they have a choice when I am done. A win win.  We both signed a contract that spell out the details, they put 50% down, and I am off and running! 

Stay tuned for the next step of the process!  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Art celebrating love for June weddings!

I recently attended our nephews wedding, and, as I usually do- created a piece for them. I always enjoy blending information and imagery from two backgrounds into one- a metaphor for marriage, if you will. Here is my most recent:

Jared and his wife Dakota and got married in southern Illinois, so I found an antique map of the area to use.  I included the text from their invitation, and the upper right hand corner is a portion of the embossed envelope the invite arrived in.  “Love let us share our name” is one of many tattoos Jared is sporting, and relevant to the occasion.  I love to wrap imagery around the side, so used one of the sides to repeat the announcement, another with a map of his cross country trek, and another with map of places he has traveled to.  The rest of it was just pure fun with color and fire created patterns!


Dylan's bride Emily was obsessed with Paris, so had to include the Eiffel tower and map of the city.  Lilies are her favorite flower (and part of wedding bouquet). They met and U of I, so I included the seal of the university, and the circular grid pattern on the left was on one of their favorite buildings on campus. “Love is patient” was a line from one of their favorite verses and part of their ceremony.

Becky and Matt had to wait several years for theirs, but it finally arrived.  Their invitation of course is included, and also a map of where they met and now live. They met in the air force, so the logo embraces their invitation.  Their wedding song lyrics fall down the right, and Becky wore flip-flops under her wedding dress, so included those as well. (What a great fashion statement!)

I got to thinking how many of these have I made over the years? Too many to recall. A bride who wanted to give it to her fiancé for a wedding present commissioned the first wedding piece I made. She saved some of the lavender from the bouquet he gave her when he proposed, a response card from a favorite aunt, pages from a book that they both are enamored with, and a coat of arms from her background and an Indian deity from his. And of course- their engagement announcement! 

This next one isn’t necessarily wedding- but related.  A client came to me with a bottle of Dom Perignon (unfortunately empty :) and the cork. That had been their wedding present to their niece and nephew.  So for their first anniversary, they commissioned a piece that incorporated their wedding invitation, the cork, musical imagery (she’s a musician). The palette of the piece was inspired by the wedding invite, and they requested natural materials to be used- but allowed me to play with it and have fun! Which is a sure way to ensure a commission is a successJ