Les Invalides, ink and watercolor, 10 x 12, 2016.

Custom Artwork as Gifts

Les Invalides, ink and watercolor, 10 x 12, 2016.

Les Invalides, ink and watercolor, 10 x 12, 2016.

Whether to remember the home you grew up in, give a gift to your parents as they move from the family home, or remember a special shared place in a way that a photo can’t convey, a painting can create an atmosphere and a gift that is completely unique.

Sometimes I’m fortunate to meet a family who appreciates this ability of art to convey something special, and trusts me to create the artwork they have in mind. I painted two holiday presents that were indeed very special, connected with family on many levels.

The painting above is of Les Invalides in Paris, France, where my customer met with her brother last year in memory of their father. She felt that a painting of the park-like grounds were the best way to share that day forever with her brother.

Below is her own home and yard, a gift to her husband, an expression of how much they love the life they’ve created and wanting to remember this moment of beauty.

Our Home, pastel, 10 x 12, 2016.

Our Home, pastel, 10 x 12, 2016.

I was honored to be trusted with these memories and images.

The ink and watercolor painting has a little bit of a technical story. Typically I have a clear visual of what the finished work should look like, with leeway for changes. I work through to where it feels right and if I encounter anything that just doesn’t work, bad proportions or a color that just isn’t right, I’ll work over it or work it into the painting somehow. In this case, I really liked the entire painting except the shadows on the walkway which I had sketched with crosshatches as well as watercolors, and the pattern was just overbearing. My customer saw the same thing and I agreed to change it. There was no way to change it with this paper and this medium, though, so I started over and drew it again.

I have painted two other small commissions for this same family in past years, below.

She wrote to me after the holidays:

First, both my husband and my brother were thrilled with your artwork and the special places that you captured so beautifully.

Second, as a “repeat customer”, I continue to be amazed by your capacity to capture a place, select the perfect medium to execute your vision, and then to frame it so perfectly. I trust your judgement 100% and greatly appreciate your commitment to pleasing the client. You were great about making the changes to the Invalides piece- thank you. Finally, it gives me great joy to support a local artist and someone who has such a tremendous heart.

Being self-employed can have its drawbacks and making a living as a freelance artist can be a bumpy road, but often it’s better than any job could ever be. I am so happy to have met this family and be able to share in these memories with them.

Custom commissioned artwork is priced the same and created in the same way as my companion animal portraits have always been done. Visit Commissioned Animal Portraits for information on how I put a piece of artwork together and a general price estimate.

You can see more in Commissioned Homes and Places.

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