Saturday, 18 October 2014

Am I up for it?

I wrote some time ago about commissions here and how they are a worry, a restriction, and an interpretive challenge and generally the difference between painting for ourselves or for someone else.

My blog has been so quiet recently and there are a number reasons for that...the odd commission, quite a few workshops and I have also been away for a few days to Copenhagen.  The workshops, though I love them need preparation and of course that stops me concentrating on my own work which is generally what I post about resulting in me not having much new to share.

So, I have been commissioned to paint some Christian Art to hang in the newly built entrance hall of a church and the first idea was to paint a cross and some roses.....practices here. The brief has now changed to one large painting, not of roses but of grapes and wheat... symbolic in the Christian church and one smaller painting of a rustic cross. I visited the church and checked the dimensions and we have decided that the final paintings will be prints of the originals and blown up onto canvas as they don't want frames and of course watercolour needs framing. The other issue is that I don't have big enough paper as the large painting will be 40x30 inches so almost a third as big again as full imperial.

This is the piece which is going for approval

This is 20x15 so half the original size and actually the colours are slightly more harmonious than it appears on here... the cross will be done in a similar palette so the paintings look like they belong together.

I had done a smaller painting of this, 15x11 and sent that for approval and to be quite honest am not sure what I would have done had that not been liked... the composition sort of evolved. I started with an all over wash adding the colours very approximately as I thought I would have them in the finished piece. As I was doing the practice piece I felt I wanted to keep the centre light and actually washed that area back to recapture some of the light I had lost in the washes...the areas of leaves also evolved and a lot of trial and error to see what worked around the perimeter of the piece.  I am still working on the cross but compositionally that is an easier piece so have been less anxious about that and am happy that will be approved to go forward too.

Thankfully my client loves the piece and will be putting it forward to the "committee" next week. Although an individual has commissioned the work, it still has to meet with the approval of the Church management committee and will be offered as a gift to the church from my client if they like......if not, am not sure what they will do!!

Commissions are tricky and though I have been given a brief the reliance on my "artistic" capabilities to transform from a brief into a finished painting is quite stressful especially when there is a deadline. If the committee don't approve this I won't be horribly disappointed as I have followed the brief and my client is happy with what I've done... as we all know art is in the eye of and it may not suit everyone who has to approve it.. who knows whether they will all like the concept and my style?So remains to be seen if I am up to it!!!!!


  1. Commissions for a person or couple are hard enough but trying to get approval from a larger group must be tricky.

    1. It is Lorraine but thankfully they have seen them now and all seem to like!! I could only work on the brief given to me by my client and as they are donating the paintings she presented them at church yesterday where they could be seen in situ (though smaller versions) and apparently they looked really good and went down well!! Phew!!!

  2. Oh Judith in my book you certainly look like you are up to it. I love the symbolism of the grapes and the wheat....such a gorgeous translation. I think commissions have to be so difficult. Good luck as you move forward and God Bless!


Would like to thank you all for taking the time to visit my blog, why not leave me a message then I know you've popped by!! If you have any enquiries please send me an e-mail to