Wednesday, July 13, 2011

She likes it! She really likes it!

I was sworn to secrecy about this painting. It was a birthday gift that the owner didn't want the beans spilled about until it was delivered. I didn't even cash the check lest he see it in their bank statement. (FYI Mary, I still haven't but will try to get to that this week)

Mary sent me this:

I was afraid...very afraid. 

It is a photograph of her husband's grandmother. His beloved grandmother that just passed away. I knew when I took this commission that it would have to be perfect because of that great love and how much this woman is missed. 
No pressure! 
No really! There was no pressure from Mary, it was all from me. I felt a great deal of pressure to get this one right but than again I feel pressured about all of my commissioned paintings just not to the degree I did about this one. 

I'd only ever done one full-on face painting once before. And, it was a bit of an abstract with the face painted in greens and golds. Not near as hard to do than getting flesh tones right. So, while this hand-coloured black and white wasn't really natural in its flesh tones it was closer than anything I've done.

Plus, getting facial features right scares me. How do you make someone look like they do in a photo. One of my biggest worries was that it would turn out to look like a Picasso face, with two noses, three eyes, and a triangle mouth. I'm pretty sure that was not what Mary was looking for. 

Do you want to know what really frightened me? And, what always frightens me when I start a commissioned painting? It is painting a work of a loved one only to have it turn out not looking like what they expect.  What if it doesn't look like how they think their loved one looks like? What if they don't like it? What if I fall in love with the painting and don't want to send it to them (which sadly happens every.single.damn.time. Those of you who I've done works for better count your lucky stars because there is not one of these paintings that I haven't wanted to hang in my house, at least for awhile). 

So what did I come up with for the above painting?

I think it came out awesome and it was all I could do to pack it up and ship it out. It would have looked great hanging in my office though JR was pretty keen to hang it in our living room. I had to mail it out just to avoid an argument. I shouldn't have worried that Mary wouldn't like it though. She posted about it the other day. 

I guess all my angst was over nothing but I doubt I'll ever get complacent about my commission paintings though. I think that angst is what keeps me honest and fuels a sort of perfectionism that I wouldn't ordinarily try for in works that are for my own use. Okay, that's is probably a lie. I worry a painting to death. I can't tell you how many I've painted over or just tossed away because they weren't perfect. 

Anyway, that's what I've been working on between travel, moving, working, and life. Mama Badger just commissioned me to paint her adorable boys. They are wearing hats. I love a kid in a hat. Very very cute! I have until Christmas which will give me time to put my studio back together, maybe get a chance to paint a couple of things I've promised to others, and paint a couple of things I have in mind for the new place.  

What have you all been up to?



  1. OMG, Michele!! It is simply PERFECT!

    I believe I'll have a commission for you soon, if you're not too tired of painting little boys. ;)

  2. I've been getting my gorgeous new painting framed! I can't wait to get it back, we picked a soft gray linen liner and a frame that's picks up the grays and the browns in the background. Here's how I know Jim is in love with the painting...he actually had an opinion about the frame! Normally that sort of thing is left up to me, entirely.

  3. Jan: I'm never too busy to paint.

    Mary: I so happy to hear that.

  4. Wow, I knew you could paint but I didn't know you could do portraits! Not only intelligent, but talented and funny too - you're amazing!!

  5. WOWED once again by your talent!! Very beautiful.

  6. I knew you could do it!
    I have one of myself and Sprite that I absolutely adore and I may just start bugging John to save some money to commission that one. But even more, I'm looking forward to seeing you in October!

  7. I'm so excited about the painting. This one came out beautiful! I'm hoping Unmitigated will post it when it's fully framed and hung, so we can see it's final scene.

  8. It came out fabulously well! I'm soooo impressed with your talent, and also with your commitment to do it justice. Beautiful!

  9. That is an awesome painting--it came out so well.

  10. It's a beautiful painting. Excellent job.

  11. Congrats on your first Face! I know how much you agonized over doing them the past few years. It came out truly beautiful! Can't wait to see the new place & studio this xmas!

  12. Faces of real people I stay away from. So far anyway. I've drawn from the mind right enough but never those that can have very loaded results.

  13. That's an amazing painting! Very cool!


  14. Ohhhhhh! That turned out absolutely awesome!! Love it! :)

  15. Michele,

    You did a wonderful job - Mary and I both love the painting. I'm so glad that you fought through your fear of painting faces. I think it's cool that my favorite person in the world has been immortalized in oils. Thanks again for a job well and lovingly done.

  16. I LOVE it, it reminds me of the pictures of my Gram. You did a great job as usual. I'm glad it was a hit too (you're right, that IS a lot of pressure).