Recently, my sister was the recipient of a cardinal painting she had admired. When she needed another to go with it, I did a bluebird painting. She hung them together on one side of her television. But the wall on the other side then seemed unbalanced.
Last weekend we dined together with our spouses, The four of us are an easy going combination. We enjoy each other’s company, we enjoy a lot of the same things and a lot of different things. I talked to both my sister and my brother-in-law about another painting. Gave them my idea, showed them some sketches, some reference pictures, discused whether they’d like two bluejays or three. A frame I had would work perfectly. Over dessert, we laughed, discussed possibilities and settled on two blue jays. The painting fell off the brush, and I delivered it yesterday. My brother-in-law commented he liked the fact the group of paintings was balanced. One frame – two birds; Two frames – two birds. A good combination.
I live to paint and teach, My reward is putting the paint on the paper and watching people explore their creativity. And whenever I’m engaged in either activity I am in pure happpy. But there are some differences.
Commissions are extremly specific. Given a picture of an animal, I’ll often arrange to meet the pet in order to get a feel for their personality. If that’s not possible, I ask for three words to describe the furbaby. They’re planned, painted accurately, and require concentration with a dash of soul to capture that spirit. The delivery of the painting brings another aspect to the sharing of my gift.
When I paint for my soul, the subject matter’s a whim. An idea, photo, perhaps some value sketches. There’s a riot of activity, and the calling to put memory or inspiration to bed by transferring it to the paper. And a hope that the painting speaks to others in some way.
The Blue Jays were a lovely combination of both types of painting. Input from the intended collector: subject matter, size, number of birds. And output of my creative energies: composition, color choice, placement of the mark.
For me it was an extremely nice combination.
What combinations work in your art? In your life?