Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Steppin up.....

This week has been devoted to completing a rather large and daunting commission. It is daunting... not only because of its shear size... but also because the commission involves satisfying two clients... the interior design firm owner who hired me... but as well his clients as well. These two people have very specific tastes... but unfortunately, for "Me" (in the initial stages) the wife and husband each wanted a very different and separate focus for the subject matter of the painting.

So I agreed to create three 8x10 inch oil studies to guide their selection process. Two were immediately set to the side... and the third required some small changes in form and colour which I did and had it back to them for their approval within three days. That was before Christmas, so it didn't bother me that it was on hold. But by the end of the first week in January, I hadn't heard back, so I called the designer only to discover that they were still "skittish"...and a bit uncertain about the third design.In the face of this, the designer gave me the "go ahead" to start the large canvas, saying that he would have it if they had any trouble with the final product. We have worked together successfully through a gallery that used to represent me... so we are "on the same page" and both trusts the other.

I began the project in earnest a week ago today, by toning the entire canvas with my usual burnt sienna acrylic wash... applied randomly over the entire surface. I let that dry overnight and then transferred the design from the 8x10 inch sketch using waxed cord pressed against the sketch in a grid pattern that divides the length and width into thirds. I then divided the 48x60 inch canvas using the same grid arrangement. NOTE: the proportion of the sketch to canvas is in a 6:1 ratio-not just by chance!

The next step in the process was to then place the larger design on the larger canvas using the sketch markings to help "map" or transfer the design. Using willow charcoal is such a freeing strategy, first because of the manner in which it flows and encourages good free drawing on the canvas surface... but more importantly... because any "wrong turns" can be immediately removed.... or adjusted.

I decided at this stage to bring forward the barn complex closer to the foreground to help emphasize them more. I also adjusted the house significantly and changed its type and its elevation. It was at this very moment that I realized that for this commission to succeed... if only for "Me"... "I" had to take charge and create it ... AS "I" WISHED!

It has run this way since that moment... and "I" am VERY happy with the outcome to this point in the painting process. I have reached the complete lay in stage by the end of today's session in the studio. Now the fun begins!

"I" will post the first jpegs to describe the atransfer and drawing process up to this point! Stay tuned over the next few days... to see the final outcome. Wish "Me" luck!

Good painting to all!


  1. Stumbled onto your blog...enjoying your winter scenes and looking forward to following this commission. Happy Painting!

  2. I do wish you luck, Bruce. I think commissions are like that..... lucky that your "broker" has such faith in you and allows you to go with what you feel is best.

  3. Thank "You"... for "stumbling onto" my site Julie. Hope that you will visit again and find some encouragement with you own work... and great blog site!

    Happy painting to "You" as well!
    Warm regards,