In 2011 I was fortunate enough to enjoy an artist residency in Dinan, France. Dinan is in Brittany, a place that now owns a part of my heart.
The King Arthur story has always interested me. Imagine my delight upon discovering that the King Arthur legend has ties to France—it makes sense—after all, I was in Britanny.
About 45 minutes drive east of Dinan, the Forest of Paimpont is all that remains of the vast forest that covered ancient inland Brittany. Legend has it that the 25 square miles of woodland is also the location of mythical Brocéliande, the forest of King Arthur. This painting was inspired by my visit there.
The day that I visited was dreary, chilly and misty, but I didn't want to portray the forest that way. The Arthur legend has lit my imagination for years, so it was important to me to indicate a bright light in the distance of this piece. One of my favorite books is "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley which is the King Arthur legend told from a decidedly female perspective. But I digress. Legend has it that the adventures of Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, occurred in this forest. Also, Vivianne, the Lady of the Lake, was said to have imprisoned Merlin the magician here after learning all his secrets of magic. It is also said that excalibur, King Arthur's sword, is in the lake within the area. In fact, the painting that I made that was selected to remain in France was a painting inspired by that lake. It was the only painting to which I gave a name while in France.
Have you ever wanted a piece of art that is made just for you? If so, this series of posts will help you to understand the process.
Choose to work with an artist who works in a style that you love. Do not ask an artist to work in the style of someone else. In doing so, you run the risk of being very unhappy with the finished piece. If you have a specific location where you want your painting to hang, if possible, give the artist an opportunity to see that space. If not, good photographs of the room are a must.
When someone has a specific location in mind for my work, I like to see the room to get a better idea of what I will be able to do. This is the time that I get a feel for what the collector finds appealing. It is good to see the restrictions and to understand as closely as possible what is most desired. In order to ensure that my work enhances people's lives, I am clear about the process, and understand what is most important to the buyer.
After you have expressed your requirements, plan to see a sketch or several sketches so that you can choose what you like best, and approve the composition prior to the painting being started.
With a better idea of what the parameters of the project are, I provide you with at least one black and white sketch depicting the landscape. Here are some examples of sketches that have been provided for commissioned landscapes.
So, you now know what scene you are going to have painted for you. What happens next?
If the color palette is very important because of where the piece will be displayed, you will likely feel better (and so will I) if you are able to see a color sketch. Many people look at my color sketches and feel that they are not so much sketch as they are miniature paintings. Either way, by seeing, and approving, the color sketch, you will have an even better idea of what you will be receiving.
When making my most recent commissioned painting, I was able to visit the home of the collector, and also take two pillows from their sofa, to utilize in an effort to match the colors of the room. I understand the notion that artwork doesn't have to match the sofa. I also understand the desire of an individual to have work that compliments the decor of the room. When that is important to the collector, I am happy to work within an specific color scheme.
Now for the real fun. With the color sketch approved, I am ready to start the painting.
Once completed, if possible, I visit the home (or office) of the collector so that we can be sure that the colors work well in the room. Light affects the way that colors appear, and the light in my studio rarely matches the location of where the work will be placed. Once approved, the art goes to the collector if the painting was made in pastel. If the painting was made in acrylic, I will need to varnish the piece. After varnishing, the collector will be able to enjoy the painting for years to come.