Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pub signs

Well, I'm doing a pub sign now. A friend of mine has a landscape business here on the peninsula "Strange Landscape Services" (his name is Ed Strange) and the only thing missing from his cute little house now is a pub sign. He goes all over to clients' yards for his business (as well as some very great local commercial accounts) but he also has fun sales from his yard. The sign has Gunneras (Dinosaur Food) a favorite plant, as well as Rhodies, a Sitka spruce (which is actually not bent in the sketch) and some daylilies.
All year he collects ceramic pots, concrete planters, funky garden art and plants, plants, plants - the cast off's from his jobs (which he brings back to brimming good health), and then for Memorial Day Weekend or Labor Day Weekend he pots everything up and sells it from his home - which is on the main drag of Ocean Park - perfect location. And the stuff he does and the way he puts it together is very cool.
Also, he's got great hanging baskets and window sill boxes and he's done some great rock scaping in the front of his house. The pub sign sketch (in colored pencil) and the house are above and you can see where the pub sign will be bolted on to when it's done. I'll take a picture of the actual sign and show you when it's up.
Ocean Park is going to have a "sunset walk" on the main drag on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend and the sign (actually 2 signs) will have to be done by then. Typically these events attract a lot of the tourists as well as locals. I may throw up my tent and sell some of my pottery tiles, small paintings and cards - nothing over $50. Love this life at the beach!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Finish of the Commission

So I began the research of finding out how to fix and preserve and image that has been printed from an ink-jet printer. Golden puts out digital grounds and varnishes which worked well so go see their website for the products and information for you artists out there - they have some great U tube video's you can play right on their website. In addition, I discovered that I could apply a Krylon fixative and put the UV varnish over that - drying between layers.

I also added some additional images that have personal meaning, gold stitches and tracings of the objects, a netting with symbolic meanings, extending the pine tree branches to enfold, embrace and support the other images. Pines being so much a part of our ocean dunes here on the Peninsula. Everything in the painting has symbolic meaning to myself or/and her. I also had to knock back the white and find an opaque or transparent color that worked and tied everything together, and even though it obscured the stamped words I decided that was ok as the words form an underpinning like a whisper, not a shout.

This picture doesn't look as vibrant as the real painting. My at home critic is unsure if he likes it since it has a lot more realistic images than my normal collage mixed media and is not as bright. And the jury is still out if the person who received this as a gift likes it. In the end there is always lots of uncertainty about a commission.

When I paint for the general public in gallery or exhibition hanging, I paint mixed media with a very bright palette and I paint for myself, until I am fully happy with the painting and there is a resonance I feel inside that I have expressed something I needed to and that it jumps from the wall in a certain way. All this is modified for commission because the painting has to resonate and jump for both of us, me and the client, not just necessarily for me I think.

The Restart of the Commission

So I began again by initially stamping words that reminded me of her and of the great time we always have when we meet her - usually for knitting at her beach front cafe. This I knew would be covered up by images but they are important to me to put them as the first layer, the underpinning of the painting and of a life well lived.
Then I added pictures I'd collected in a collage format. So you see the roses, the coffee and treats, the balls of yarn, the hands in the mandela remind me what she does for the young people and old people in our community here at the beach. People that need a friendly word of encouragement, recognition, personal attention, in a word-help.
I wanted a picture of her cute little dachshound to put front and center so I got her husband to hold Copper and I got a great digital picture which I adjusted in Photoshop, printed out on Japanese rice paper and then added to the picture though as you see here I removed it because it was smearing and I had to find a better way to fix the ink before incorporating. Thus began some research about how to do what I wanted to do.
I tell everyone that art is creative vision but it's also at least 1/2 problem solving.

The Beginning of a Commission

I was approached by a friends husband who wanted to commission a painting for his wife and he wanted these elements in the painting: her dog Copper, yarn (she's the community knitting guru), grapes (she also runs a great cafe) and roses. I told him I am a mixed media mostly abstract painter so I couldn't promise that any of the above would be recognizable, and he had seen my website, so I said I'd do it on condition that the painting should be returned no questions asked if she did not like it.
So when I start a commission I listen very carefully for the elements that a client wants, her colors and the wall colors and then I let it percolate and when I get this great idea, I start out and the painting turns out fantastic! NOT!!!!!! As you can see here from my initial start.

A friend of mine, Bernie, who has been doing commissions since he was very young says thats the first thing you rid your brain of is all of the specifics that the client wants to see in the painting. Then you find a way to express the subject, the way you feel about that subject in your style of painting.

Obviously, I needed to start over again.