Delivery of the Commission Piece

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I am so excited to finally finish my painting commission!

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I lovingly boxed it and shipped it to New York. I had to collect the art show, so I flew to New York to do that and meet my client and collect payment for the commission piece. I expected to intercept the painting on its way to client, but I beat the thing to New York City! I was bummed out, because I wanted to see her reaction and make sure she was happy with the piece.

Sometimes you just can’t witness the delivery of your artwork to the client. So I left New York and waited to hear from the client.

Progress on the Commission Piece

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I mentioned in my prior post that a client asked for a painting based upon drawing #6 of my Manhattan Bridge Series. But she wanted a painting with “flecks of red,” which posed technical challenges for me. So I incorporated an impasto technique to solve the problem. Sometimes pictures tell the story of a works’ evolution than words do:

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Another Commission Piece!

Manhattan Bridge Series #6 11×14 Graphite on Paper

Shortly before I left Brooklyn, another client contacted me wanting a painting for her office. She has several unique criteria. First, it has to cover an ugly x-ray reader, so the painting requires a deep canvas. Second, she wants the painting to mimic one of my graphite drawings, #6, but with flecks of red.

This is going to take some doing! The deep canvas will not be a problem since Dick Blick has canvases which are almost 3″ thick. A canvas that thick requires that the image wraps around the side for continuity so that it doesn’t look sloppy nor incomplete. This also frees the client from having the piece framed which helps those on a budget.

But the flecks of red are going to be a challenge. If you’ll remember from earlier posts, my “style” with acrylic paints has a lot of blending using black and/or white. This helps to create depth with color. But when you add black or white to red, it shifts the color toward brown or pink respectively. And I’m pretty sure my client does NOT want pink!!

So I’m going to have to get creative with how I solve this problem. There is a technique called impasto, which requires a thick application of paint. That way, I can essentially continue to paint in black and white, using gradation, but allow flecks of red to show through the final paint. Not only that, the thick application of paint will create more visual interest in what is basically a black, white, and grey composition. It will be fun to try a new method for painting, but also a bit hair-raising because I’m not sure how it will turn out. Experimentation with a new style of painting on a commission piece feels like living life on the edge.

Moving My Art Studio

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2014-09-01 08.33.37Recently, I left Brooklyn and moved myself and my art studio to North Carolina. I set everything up in the basement of my home, out of the way, so that nothing important would get messed up if I have a spill. At least this will keep the cat out of paint, and his wet paws out of my bed!

The disadvantage to my new space is poor access to water. Unlike a space such as a laundry room or mud room, the basement does not have a nice sink for cleaning brushes and wiping up spills before they dry. The second disadvantage is fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent light shifts everything toward the green spectrum, which is why people look unwell under fluorescent lights. The basement also tends to be cooler than the rest of the house. But I don’t consider that a problem. I can simply wear a sweater and it will also be cooler in the summer.

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There it is! My new work space.

Client Hangs Commission Pieces

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in situWhen my client ordered commission artwork for his house renovation, I wanted to view the space where the pieces were to hang, so I measure how big the pieces needed to be. Seeing where the work would hang allowed me to get an idea how big the pieces needed to be so they are appropriately sized for the room. The entry wall to the house is huge and begged for a large piece of artwork.

When my client took receipt of the paintings, I was unable to help him hang the pieces in his home, due to the time constraints of my impending move. So he sent me pictures of the art hanging on his walls. Looking at the the picture to left, I was surprised to see that the artwork almost seems lost on the wall. It may be because the piece is hanging so close to the ceiling.

diptych in situWhen I saw the second piece, I was able to deduce the hanging decision of the homeowner. When we measured the wall space originally, we decided that there should be an extra-wide piece over the sofa. So the client chose a diptych, a continuous image that continues over two separate pieces of canvas, so they hang together. I intended for the art to float evenly between the furniture and the ceiling. But for practical reasons, the client decided to hang the pieces high so that people sitting on the sofa would not be able to lean their heads back on the artwork. Once the pieces were in place over the sofa, it only made sense to hang the entry piece high for visual consistency. This allows the homeowner to place a piece of furniture such as a hutch or bench under the artwork to balance the open space. After all, even though the artwork is done, the home itself is still a work in progress.

Finishing My Art Commission

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September was such a hectic month for me! Not only did I put together an art show, I had a big commission piece to do. More accurately, I had big commission PIECES to do. And finally, I finished them, and delivered them to the client on Monday. These are the final pieces ….

2014-08-27 22.22.21There’s three 30″x40″ canvases. Two of them are meant to sit side by side as a diptych, as shown.

 

 

 

 

The single painting caused me real problems because I had trouble integrating the foreground with the background while still creating depth. After about three attempts, I was able to fix it.

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The Art Show

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I had my art opening at Laurentino’s Bakery on September 15th. It was great! About 15 people showed up: lots of friends, coworkers, the coordinator of my critique group, a former patient, people from the neighborhood. But the most amazing surprise was that my professor from college, who lives an hour or two up the Hudson Valley, came into the city for the evening to be there. I was so thrilled and flabbergasted that he showed up; I was not expecting that.

Linda O's openingIn some ways I was unprepared. I did not have a sign-in sheet. I did not have my portfolio of loose drawings available for people to buy. I had no one designated to take pictures!! Luckily, my professor thought to do that for me. Thank you, Bob!

Of the 10 pieces on display, three of them sold! Amazing.

The show will be up in Brooklyn until January 5th or so …
Laurentino’s Bakery
680 5th Ave  (corner of 5th Ave & 20th street)
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Putting Together an Art Show

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I have been working to prepare for an art show for the past month. My local bakery at the corner has been hanging the work of a photographer for about a year. So in April, I asked if I could hang my work in their bakery. They said, “Yes!” They’re going to let me keep my work up for 3 months. The “show” opens September 15th.

So the advantage to hanging a show in an undedicated space is that, often, you can hang your work for free. You’ll still have to pay to present your work professionally, such as framing, and you have to hang the work yourself. But you’ll get 100% of the proceeds of your sales (make sure you report to the IRS!). And you can often dictate how long your work hangs, or at least hang it longer than the standard 3 weeks that a gallery would allow.

Ideally, I would like to be picked up and represented by a gallery because it looks good on my resume. But the reality of gallery representation for an undiscovered artist means that you pay to hang your work. You pay to frame your work, and the gallery will take a 60% commission of anything that you sell. It must be hard to support oneself as an artist, much less get rich – hence the term “starving artist.” If you’ve got no money, that can be an daunting task. However, what you get for your money is advertising. A gallery will send out a blitz of promotion for your work, reach a unique audience of people positioned with enough finances to actually buy art work, and help launch your career.Until then, a local venue will have to do for me. Who knows, someone in the art industry may venture by for a cookie one day and pick me up for a gallery exhibition.

Critique Group MeetUp

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Critique nightFinally, after signing up for a critique group in May, we met this past week. There were 5 of us who arrived, which was a nice number. We were to bring some artwork to discuss, and if needed, assist the artist with solving a problem. Ground rules were set: everyone got a change to present their work and receive respectful and helpful feedback.

16x20 acrylic bridge study

My concern surrounds translating my drawing into a painting. I have plenty of studies of my piece but I am struggling with technical problems due to an unfamiliar medium. Basically, my problem is that I can’t paint – or at least that’s what I tell myself. My logical self knows that painting is simply drawing with a wet medium. I’m simply having difficulty controlling my medium so that I can get the effect that I want. The result is that I tighten up and can’t get to loose flowing effect that I want.

The critique group was helpful. Despite all of us having different skill levels and styles, it was nice to have other people’s input. I wish I had brought my preliminary painting that am using to problem solve so that they could see where I’m struggling. Luckily, they had suggestions for technique, and when they didn’t have answers, pointed me to resources for solutions.

I’ve already followed some of their advice and can’t wait to get back to work. Hopefully we will meet again soon so that we can track each others progress. It would be nice to get help should I get stuck again.