I recently finished another commissioned piece of artwork. The word “commissioned” is just a fancy way of saying “special ordered”. In other words, someone wants a painting with specific elements included rather than buying a piece that I’ve already painted. I love commissions because they challenge me. It’s not quite as easy as just painting whatever I’m inspired to paint and there’s always the fear that my vision will not match that of the collector. So far, I’ve been lucky that my commissions have always gone well (knock on wood). And this particular one went better than most.
A really close friend of mine, Michelle, had been telling me for years that she wanted one of my paintings. She could never quite find the right one because she had a specific wall in mind. So this past summer while I was down at her house for a little reunion with friends, she showed me the wall and described what she wanted. We agreed that I would get started on creating something specifically for her.
Her home is absolutely beautiful and the wall she had in mind was enormous. We knew we were going to have to have a canvas custom-made. After deciding on size, I asked her all the usual questions I ask: Did she have any preference for content/composition? What were her color preferences? What writing/poetry/lyrics did she want for the background?
Here’s a peek at the process:
She measured her space and figured out the exact size she wanted. I ordered the custom-made canvas and had it delivered.
After discussing content and composition she let me know that she really loved birds and also wanted to include sunshine. Based on that information, I worked up a rough sketch for her that she loved.
Then I got to work. That enormous canvas barely fit in my studio! I started with the song lyrics she chose that were special to her and her family.
It took me a little over a week working a few hours a day to get it finished.
We planned a day for me to deliver it to her. Luckily it just barely fit in my car.
Michelle decided that she didn’t want to see a photo of the final product. She wanted to keep it a surprise for when I arrived at her house. Luckily, her first reaction was excitement. She loved it and that made me feel great.
The painting looked so gigantic in my studio but on that beautiful wall it was perfect. Once we got it on the wall we all agreed that the size, color and sheer scale of it was a wonderful fit for that space.
It’s a lot of work getting a commissioned painting just right and especially an unusually large one. But when you see the final piece in its new home and you see the smile on the face of the new owner, it is more than worth it.
As Michelle put it so wonderfully, “I waited 7 years for this house and so I wanted ‘special, meaningful, beautiful, unforgettable’ on that spacious wall! You did all that and more!”
For me, that’s what art is all about. When a piece of artwork can bring such joy to a home, there is nothing I love more.