Monday, January 2, 2017

Leah's Jams

'Leah's Jams'
18" x 18"
oil on gessoboard

Hi guys! I've missed you!
I did a little painting in early December, but it was a gift so I had to keep it a secret.
I'm so happy to finally show it to you! 

A very sweet man commissioned this for his wife, my friend, Leah. He even sent me a jar of her homemade jam for me to paint! It was a really fun project, a little bigger than my norm, and I am extremely happy with how it turned out. 
Leah loves it too, and that's the best part. :)


Note: I have just a handful of 2017 calendars left in my DPW store.

Read on to hear me wax philosophical about life and stress... :)

I started out painting only commissions (in the form of custom murals), and it worked very well. I loved the challenge of taking a concept or image and adapting it to the specific style and needs of my client. I didn't have to be the 'idea man', - the ideas have always been the hardest part for me, - I just painted what someone told me to paint. It was fun, difficult and rewarding.

The mural work slowly phased out after I became a wife and mom, and then life was about diapers and just trying to get enough sleep. :) In the midst of that chaos, I always found something to create, because, well, that's as important as breathing to me. Curtains, ornaments, purses... there's always something to make!

Then, a few years ago, I took the plunge into a whole new era in my painting journey... learning oils, painting small, and, most exciting to me, stumbling upon the ideas and skills that give me joy, that come from within me. After decades of dabbling in all things artsy, I am finally finding my artistic voice. It has been so hard, so good, and so extremely fulfilling. 

In this new era, I've been asked several times to do commission work. I've done a little here and there, I've said yes and then had to recant when I started to lose sleep, and most recently, I've just said no to it all. It's not that I didn't want to, honestly, it was just way too stressful. I'm a people-pleaser and I'm a wee bit high-strung, with some severe and random anxiety thrown in. (I try desperately to hide all that, - who wants to hang out with a nervous breakdown? Lol.) Anyway, when art becomes another 'job' in addition to my familial responsibilities, well, I can feel the ulcers forming ranks, and then I have a meltdown. I just couldn't get it to fit into my life with all the other things.

So, that's a big part of why this commission is so exciting to me. I don't really remember when I agreed to it, at some point it just started to sound more fun than stressful. I knew the subject matter, I had good source materials and all of a sudden I was painting for someone else and I never once lost any sleep over it! (It helps that the intended recipient is literally one of the sweetest people on the planet. :) ) All in all, it was a very positive experience and I'm so thankful. It was so fun to paint! 

If you know my work, you know my favorites are when a lovely little scene is tempered by the 'ugly' of life. Telephone poles and wires, highways, cracked sidewalks, garbage cans, - for me they provide literal and emotional 'scale'. A true reflection of life; stress and fulfillment, ugly and beautiful, all jumbled together. :) 

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