From The Easel; Steps of a Commissioned Piece

Having had some dental issues in the last few weeks, I didn’t get a chance to post anything yesterday. But as they say; “Better late than never”! I have wanted to post a series of photos that chronicle the making of a painting for some time. About a year ago I was given a commission and I had photographed many of the stages of creating it. I feel that this is a good representation of the making of a commissioned piece. So here I give you, “Mack”.

I was asked to create a painting that represented something that is very important in the lives of this family, for their young son. The father is a truck driver, and their son is crazy about trucks. Other than that, I wasn’t given anything else in particular to go on. I found this to be a good thing as it gave me a little more free reign to design this heirloom for them. As Their son was still quite young, but kids grow quickly, I decided that it should be playful, yet be something that he would be OK with having for some time as he grows older.

In this first image, you can see where I had lightly sketched in the body of the truck, and the beginnings of aspects that would make it feel more substantial. I then added some paint to begin “fleshing it out”.

Blocking in the background gave me an idea, and feeling of place.

In this photo I began to paint the sign on the side. As you can see, I left highlights where the metal of the truck bumps outward. I thought at this point to leave parts like this to give the sign a somewhat “worn” look.

Here I began to block in different areas to give it more depth.

At this point I started to add some fun elements. As you can see, the truck is now hauling a load of candy, peeking out from under the tarp at the top of the truck.

In this image I’ve blocked in a layer of under painting to begin building on and continue giving the painting more depth. I also added the name of the truck.

In the above three images I had begun to give the truck more realism, filling in the tires, and adding highlights to the fenders.

Here I’ve added more candy, and lights to the top of the cab of the truck. At this point I also began changing the walls where the “dig” was, showing that this was a candy “mine”.

Things were coming together, and I then added more whimsy to the over all look of the sign.

Here I added more highlights, and color for depth, as well as added the name of the young boy to the door of the truck.

After adding some work on the back and fore ground,(and adding a shadow of a man driving), this painting was finished!

It is always a bit nerve wracking to do a commissioned piece. You never know if the client will be pleased with the finished product. But I’m happy to say, they loved it! I hope you enjoyed seeing how this painting came together, and I hope to do more like this in the future. See you next time!

Challenge Me

From time to time I think most artists will encounter a block, much like writer’s block, or as I like to call it, white canvas syndrome. If you make a living with your art, there is nothing more frightening than that endless blank canvas or paper waiting… Personally to combat this stomach knotting, twilight zone of emptiness, I’ve used various tricks, tools, incantations, whatever you want to call them, to get back to a more productive zone. I’ve done things like just go and sit in my work space, or studio if you will, and go over old ideas I’ve written about or tried, looked through art books, and more currently gone online for some free inspiration. Sometimes I write up a list of categories, such as wildlife (the animal kind, sadly I have none of the other), or just simply goof around looking through photos I like. But there is one more concrete tool that I have found to be useful, and that is the “art challenge”. In particular ink challenges, or more specifically “Inktober”. Created in 2009 by Jake Parker, an ink artist who was looking for something to ” improve his inking skills, and to develop more positive drawing habits.” Something I know I can always use, as there are so many distractions on top of real life needs, that it becomes very easy for weeks to slip by without creating something, and for the old ferrules to get rusty.

The prompt for this was “graceful”.

Therefore its crucial to find something that not only gets us off of our sorry excuses, but to also find something that is fun, challenging and engaging. For myself I have found that Inktober fits the bill. The premise of Inktober, is this; For each day of the month leading up to Halloween, there is a list of “prompts” . They don’t always have to do with Halloween, but generally they do. But it isn’t a rule or anything that you have to interpret the prompts that way either. Again it is meant to get you excited about creating something. It’s always interesting to see what other’s take is on each prompt. There is a massive range of ideas, styles, and talents submitted each year. I prefer not to look at other’s work for the day, so as not to be influenced. After you have drawn your idea, you upload it to the site on Twitter with a few different hashtags. I have even been surprised myself by what interpretations pop out of my head, heheh. They often take a completely different turn as I work on them, than what I had planned.

“Deep”

I used to use pen and ink quite a bit, back in the day in the “purest” form. Actual pens with removable nibs and small bottles of ink. There was something almost sacred about picking up these supplies, lining them up on my art table and working like the old masters did, learning by trial and error how to use this medium, careful not to splotch my work. Most of the time these were smaller pieces, and were very detailed. Like any time I am working, I tend to lose track of time and sometimes it feels almost mystical. I normally use either oils, or acrylics, mostly the latter lately. So it’s fun to take a month and work in a completely different medium. I highly recommend Inktober. Since Mr. Parker started it back in 2009, Inktober has grown exponentially into a massive worldwide endeavor. I’m posting some of my Inktober challenges for you here to see for yourself the strange, interesting and sometimes odd places it will take you. Enjoy, and I hope you take up the challenge. See you next time!

“Furious”
I did this as a “mash up” of two day’s of prompts, “trail and juicy”. I thought it was pretty clever, heheh.
“Ship”
“Squeak”
Another “mash up” “Climb & Fall” (It works both ways.)
“United”
“Mask”

“Drain”
“Poison”
“Tranquil”
“Precious”
“Angular”
“Bottle”
“Whale”
“Muddy”
“Prickly”
“Chop”

PS Please take a look at my site on Etsy- oMordah etsy.com/shop/omordah for originals and prints of my work. There is a price range so everyone can have some sweet art 🙂