One of the difficulties than one must somehow overcome during the commission process is to overcome the sense that in essence... one is working really... for someone else. in the process of negotiating the direction of the commission...it is absolutely necessary that input from the client be addressed and weighed into the final outcome. Striking a palatable balance that pleases both sides can be a very tricky process.
I must first feel a strong sense comfort with my potential client right from the beginning of the process. The initial meeting pretty much signals a match and a go... or that I should politely decline rather than risking hard feelings and placing both sides in a position of compromise an certain unhappiness in the end.
The fairly good colour photo references in this particular case... along with the very positive conversations with this couple made my decision to accept this commission feel positive for us both. I started the process by presenting the pen and ink quick study to them.. which presented a concept that they liked. I asked a number of extra questions about certain physical aspects of the photos which weren't exactly clear to me. When I received more input... I felt that I was ready to proceed. Well almost!
I decided to accurately draw the building because it was so unique architecturally... and I had sense after seeing their tastefully decorated home and other art that they had collected... that my rendering had best be "right on the money." After couple of false starts.. I had the house and supporting structure of the trees, road, etc. pretty much where I wanted it located. I then moved on confidently to the lay in process.
I blocked in the dark foliage around the home and quickly filled in basic values of the grass.. small trees and road shadows. I added a pale bluish purple to the various levels of the house itself... and finished by roughing in cloud shapes and sky colour. At this juncture... all of the canvas had some paint... no matter its correctness in value or hue even. This gave me a sense of the weight and strength of the various parts of the composition and design.
Today...I spent the entire day balancing greens in the trees and bringing our a variety of different values in the "white" of the house itself.I reworked shadowed areas on the road and in the tree masses until I was satisfied that there was transparency and balance in my values right across the entire picture surface. Finally...I added some smaller details with my rigger to give punch and lift out recognizable and important architectural details.
In looking at he painting this evening... I can see yet a few more areas to be dealt with tomorrow to bring things to a close. Overall... I feel that I have successfully captured the essence of this beautiful Victorian era Quebec homestead. I hope that it will please my clients! Fingers crossed!
Good Painting to ALL!