A lady I met in Birmingham has contracted me for a 30x40 commission - a gift to her husband for Father's day. Quite exciting and naturally I am thrilled to do it. Some artists do not like commissions. But for me it is quite the opposite!
For me, it is a true privilege to be chosen for a painting. It is such an important and personal decision. For a person to find art they resonate with is hard enough and then to take the very big step to commission a custom piece, well, that's a big deal and I take the responsibility seriously.
I am challenged by the task. Ideally, I crawl into the person's head a little bit, to find out more about them, the purpose for their piece, what they are hoping to depict. Typically someone has already identified one of my pieces that seems special to them. Or perhaps they have several pieces they like but want me to combine ideas.
Usually my commissions involve family photos. For a large piece such as this 30x40, I request lots of photos and materials for the background so I can pick and choose. I will only use a small fraction of what I received, but as I review the items, it seems I instantly gravitate to the ones that reveal some soul. I know it sounds really woo woo, but intuitively I know which photos and which pieces I want to use. To these parts, I add special items from my own collection of ephemera.
And then I layer, layer, layer. Paper, photos(copies, not the originals) and paint, all layered up. Some of the things will inevitably be hidden by paint and left with only parts peeking out. Clients will contact me months later and tell me how they continue to find hidden meaning in the piece, little symbols they didn't even realize were there at first. That is when I know I have really succeeded. To create a slightly mysterious painting, something so interesting, and with so many layers, that it warrants continued examination is a treat for me. I love to delight and surprise the client; that magic is priceless.