Monday, February 22, 2021

Mix and Match

Twilight Skyline
 The Philadelphia Skyline at twilight

Winter is the time of year when I concentrate on client commissions. When I first began working as a full-time artist, I accepted painting commissions for many different subjects including dog portraits. I am a dog person, after all. 

As time went on, I became more selective about what I would paint for clients because I realized a couple of things. First, there were just some subjects for which I was not well suited, such as portraiture (alas, I don't know how to magically take ten years and fifteen pounds off of someone). Secondly, although I like to believe that I can paint pretty much any subject, I recognized that I could do much better work for someone if the subject naturally resonated with me and fell within my usual interest of either a landscape or a cityscape painting.

Daylight Skyline
  The Philadelphia Skyline in summer daylight

This winter, one of the commission ideas I'm most excited about is a skyline view of the city of Philadelphia as seen from my client's rooftop garden. When he and I initially spoke about his idea for this painting, we bonded over a shared history and continuing interest in flowers and gardening. A subject like this is fun for me because it combines a cityscape subject with hints of the natural landscape, including the beautiful sky and the foreground flowers. 

Shown here are two of my initial studies for my client based on the reference material he provided to me. When I work with clients on custom paintings, I like to give them initial studies to review so that we have a good starting point when considering what we want to emphasize in their painting. There's no substitute for the old adage that, "A picture is worth a thousand words." I've found that initial studies help to show the client what I'm thinking. They represent a visual starting point and help my client to discuss desired adjustments and changes before I dive into the final painting. 

In this instance, upon review of these two studies, my client and I decided to go with the more dramatic "twilight" study, but to incorporate a couple of compositional details from the daylight study. Sometimes this selective "mix and match" is what it takes to arrive at the best presentation for my client, and I'm happy when we can draw traits from both studies to make the best possible artwork. 

If you'd like to commission me for a custom oil painting, please contact me!