Monday, April 20, 2015

One of a Kind

So I thought I'd share what it's like to commission a painting. The process is pretty easy and most people would be surprised to realize that I am (and most artists for that matter) are pretty flexible when it comes to working within a certain budget for a client.
Let's take the latest commission I just finished for a friend of mine who wanted a painting of Mt. Rainier, where he is currently stationed.

The first step is to contact me! You never know until you ask! Tracey got in touch with me about an idea for a watercolor landscape based off of a photograph he really liked depicting the mountain. He wasn't sure if I even did landscapes (I do!) and he gave me a lot of artistic freedom (which is always fun!). Usually the first few questions I ask are:

1. How big? I price based on size first

2. What medium? I work in watercolor, acrylic, graphite, and occasionally oils. This helps me narrow down what you are looking for and also helps with pricing works on canvas or paper.

3. Subject matter. This is where we go back and forth on what exactly you were thinking. Keep in mind my style and way of painting (I'll usually have you look at my work first so you get a feel for my style). If you're wanting something waaaaay outside of what I do and the way I work then odds are, you won't be satisfied with anything I do (and I'll always be upfront about whether or not I'll take it on!). Realize you are coming to me because you like my artistic point of view.
Now, if you are not sure what you are wanting and need me to help with the designing of the piece this is where I would do some sketches/mockups to give you some ideas. You could send me inspiration photos or other things that you really love and elements to go into the piece. By the time we are done, you will know exactly what your piece will look like so there are no surprises.

Once we have those things established I can quote you a price. This price takes into consideration the design process, my time,  and my materials. I'll require half of the commission price as a deposit.
With my friend we established a 28"x 30" watercolor of Mt. Rainier, loosely based on a photograph but also left room for some creative liberties. He also didn't specify a deadline and gave me all the time in the world to finish (I like to have a 2-4 week turn around time, although here lately with an 8 month old I'm at around a month, depending on the size of the commission).

Then I get started! My favorite part!

My initial first wash/pass after drawing everything out (didn't get a photo of just the drawing)
The yellow at the top is my masking fluid which helps preserve my whites when I'm painting with watercolor.

My second pass is a little bit darker. Watercolor is all about building up to those layers.

Darkening the mountain even more!

Getting the trees in place as well as starting on the reflection

More work on values. LAYERS people!

The trees are just about finished and I'm making the mountain even darker and starting it's reflection as well. It's really starting to come together!

Took the masking fluid off and worked on the snow, then removed the border tape (ahhhh those crisp, clean edges!!!). Once the tape is removed I usually consider a painting done and I sign the piece.

Stared at it a while (ok A LOT) on my easel then thought it could use a little bit more COLOR to break up all the green and brown. Which left me with this:

And there you have it! I shipped this one all the way to Washington state. I love seeing my work go out into the world! I ship all over the place (including one that made it to Australia!). 
Hope you enjoyed a little behind the scenes taste of what it's like to commission a custom piece of original art that you will cherish for years! It makes me excited when people are truly happy with a painting (and I love seeing photos of it hanging in homes).

Thanks so much to Tracey for this piece! I had a great time painting it, makes me want to see the mountain in person.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

April Showers....

These last few days have been nothing but a torrential downpour here on the Gulf Coast and it looks like it will continue allllllllll week long.
Sadly, the weather makes me VERY unmotivated. I've got tons to work on, things to type up, website stuff research but all I want to is drink hot tea, binge watch Netflix and mindlessly surf the internet (or if I'm lucky take a nap, this is perfect napping weather).
So I figured I'd show off some sketchbooks I've been meaning to document. Here's one of my favorite altered sketchbooks, aptly named The Observer, seeing as how this book is filled with sketches of random people/places I've observed in various places (laundry mat, bars, a beach house, and lots and lots of coffeeshops). This book could possibly also be called my Time Waster book since usually that is what I'm doing when I drag it out to work in. (Oh yeah it happens to be a book about a fictional viking boy before I altered it, love some of the illustrations in it!)

Also here is a new watercolor sketchbook I received for Christmas that I'm really enjoying working in. It's panoramic layout poses a challenge when looking for a scene/subject matter. I kinda like how it forces me to change things up though.

Now to get on all that stuff I was procrastinating....


Thursday, April 9, 2015

What's New

Well hello blogsphere! It's been awhile since I've posted but I'm making it a goal to be better about regularly blogging and keeping up with everything that's been going on. And there's been A LOT going on.
Let's see, here's the quick run down of where I've been in life since that very last blog post (which now looking back it was definitely a turning point for me!).

-Got back in touch with an old friend (via our artist shenanigans with the newly formed A.C.C.E. group, Art Can Change Everything)

-More shenanigans, including a crazy awesome art installation in a pop-up gallery, (think large bird's nest)

-Decided to open a studio (!!!) with that friend, Carmen Lugo

-Strange Bird Studio was born!

-Hustled like crazy to make that dream a reality! Painted my fingers off, sold art, taught classes

-Enjoyed an amazing time connecting with people and other artists within ACCE

-More shenanigans, called a Surrealist Spectacle (where I dress up like a dark bird and live painted to some amazing music)

-Found out I was pregnant!! :-O

-Had to make some tough decisions regarding the studio

-Ultimately husband and I decided I needed to take a break from the studio to take care of our son (one of the hardest decisions I've ever made!)

-Jude William Daniel was born!

-Fell in love like I never thought possible

-Currently a stay at home mom, who is freelance with all her art endeavors. (And now I drag my little Jude to all my art shenanigans, including a street long outdoor art gallery called Re:Vieux when he was 3 months old)

There you have it! If you made it this far, thanks for sticking it out (believe me it was crazy times)
A lot of life change and experiences, but you know, I wouldn't change a thing about it. Now I'm acclimating to life with an 8 month old who gets into everything, while still continuing to pursue an art career. Here is where you can expect me to try to stay true to my painting, to learn and grow as a parent (and artist!), and to find my voice and speak about all of those things and more.
So stick around, it could get pretty interesting up in here. ;-)


(p.s. I leave you with a shameless picture of just how cute my son is)