Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm Sad Today

I was tired last night, so I spent the evening sketching out some new pieces on canvas in front of the TV. Since we don’t have cable, I was stuck watching the main network channels, all of which were interrupted on the hour for updates and press conferences about the school shooting that took place in Bailey yesterday.

I know that watching the news is never a happy experience with all the crap that happens all over the world every day, but that never numbs me to the stories that hit closer to home. And hearing about this particular story all night just made me sad.

Bailey is a 25 minute drive from my house. It’s a little town in the mountains with maybe one restaurant and a gas station along the highway. It’s the kind of place you’d move if you wanted to get away from the hustle of city and suburban life.

It’s not the kind of place where you would expect this sort of thing to happen.

The parents of the children in the classroom that was taken hostage probably thought they were sheltering their children by living in a rural mountain town. Now, not so much.

It just goes to show you can’t get away from this crap.

I live five minutes away from Columbine High School, and I think the community I live in is still affected by the aftermath of that tragedy. No one thought that sort of thing would happen in Littleton either, yet it did. And now there’s another school shooting that has taken place just a short drive away.

Anyhow, I don’t really have a point – I’m rambling. I’m just sad for the family of the child who died, I’m sad for the law enforcement officers who had to deal with the situation while their own children were inside the school, and I’m sad for the guy who did this.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Another Commission Out the Door!

One of the things that has been stressing me out this summer is the completion of a few commissioned pieces. There's just something about the whole commission process that makes it more difficult than just painting what I want. After all, these are clients who know exactly what they want and go out of their way to request it rather than just buy something off of a gallery wall.

I outlined my process on the commissioned painting that was my biggest challenge here and here. Yesterday I shipped off another that was on the opposite end of the spectrum - no stress at all.

This particular client found my website back in January and contacted me then about my work, before I had any gallery representation. We kept in touch, and in July he asked me to do a larger version of a painting I had recently sold. The original painting was just a 9x12" study, shown here:

He commissioned me to do the same piece as an 18x24". That's about as simple as a commission gets - I still get to paint something that I was originally inspired to paint, and there's not as much stress about whether the client will like the finished product or not since he already has a good idea of what it will look like.

When I do a larger piece from a study, I like to change things up a bit so that the two pieces don't look like carbon copies. In this instance, going from 9x12" to 18x24" required that I enhance the composition a bit, especially in the foreground. In the larger version, I added a road/trail to the foreground to lead the eye into the painting, and pushed the colors a bit to enhance the mood of the piece. Here's the final commission:

It's essentially the same subject as the smaller study, but different enough that they can be considered two different paintings. After all, I wouldn't want to annoy the person who bought the study by doing another painting just like it!

Anyhow, this painting got shipped off yesterday. The client has seen pictures, but has never seen any of my paintings in person, so I'm hoping he's happy with the real thing.

As for the commissioned piece I posted about before, I just dropped it off with that client today at lunch. He was happy with it and I've got the check in hand. Now I'm back to painting things that I want to paint - nice!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


"First Light"
Oil on Canvas

I’m continually amazed at the cool people I meet through painting, and am always pleasantly surprised at how friendly and helpful people can be in the art world, whether they be artists, dealers, or collectors. One of my favorite things about selling my work is learning more about the collectors who buy it. The gallery I work with in town sends me the name and address of each person who buys one of my paintings, and I usually send them a thank you note or some sort of personal message. Most of the time, that’s the extent of my communication with each buyer, but sometimes I get a little bit more.

One guy sent me a note back about how a scene I had painted looked down on the site of an old molybdenum mine – he had worked on reclamation of the land back in the 80’s, and sent me a note to tell me how pleased he was to see that they had done such a good job that an artist would want to paint the place 15 years later. He had ended up buying a different painting of mine, but took the time to write me a note about this one because it had an impact on him. I do environmental engineering for a living, so I thought his perspective was just as interesting.

The painting posted above recently sold to the man who apparently owns the ranch that makes up the foreground. Apparently he was in Denver and went into the gallery, recognized the mountain and his property in the painting, and bought it right away. I couldn’t think of a better person to buy that particular painting. I loved the scene enough to shoot a picture from the side of the highway on a REALLY cold morning – what better home for the painting than with a person who loved that scene enough to actually own the land?

I love knowing who buys a painting and why they were drawn to it – it’s one of my favorite parts of the business of art. Thankfully I work with a gallery who shares these stories with me – I know a lot of dealers won’t disclose this information to their artists at all.