Break out the champagne – I just completed my first, paid, art commission!
I met George randomly at a BBQ for a mutual friend. He’s one of those rare people I hit it off with straight away, like we’d been friends for years. He follows this blog and we “social network”. It is he who motivated me to actually start this blog and pursue my art with more seriousness as opposed to the lip service I’d been giving it.
A few weeks ago he asked if I would paint him something to give to his friend for his 50th birthday. This was the brief:
“He [friend] likes painting and also different cultures. So I thought what better present to get him than a painting of something Maltese, something from my culture”.
We discussed the size, style and topic. He provided me with a few photos and we agreed on a scene depicting the Mdina Co Cathedral – an iconic Maltese landmark.
While I was super excited and honoured to be asked to do something like this I was, just quietly, crapping myself. The pressure came down like a ton of bricks and dredged up the “I’m not good enough” monster who has been barking it’s ugly taunts ever since.
This little bastard of a monster’s mockery resulted in one destroyed canvas and another that I was going to throw out. I changed tact several times, had a major creative blank and couldn’t even pick a colour scheme!
Then I remembered something George said:
“…using the photo as a a guide and letting you as an artist add your own creativity was exactly what I was hoping for. Otherwise I would have applied a couple of filters with Photoshop, printed it on canvas and done.”
I returned to one of the canvasses I’d dismissed in frustration because it “didn’t look like the photo”. It didn’t have to look like the photo, in fact it shouldn’t look like the photo according to my client.
All of a sudden a muse (or whatever you want to call it) appeared and kicked that monster to the curb. I was creating like a woman possessed – OLÈ!!
Am I happy with it? Mostly. I am pleased with the mood or feeling that the colours and background pattern provide.
I like the silhouette in that it depicts a recognisable landmark so it suited the purposes for which it was created. (There is an aspect I really, really don’t like – I won’t cloud your judgment by telling you – you tell me, if you wish).
The best part – George likes it. His words “Like it? Love it. Now I am thinking I should keep this for myself. That’s how much I like it.”
That totally made my day – hopefully the recipient of George’s birthday gift feels the same!
This photo, taken by photographer Stephen Ciantar at www.onlyinmalta.com, was both my inspiration and initial torment!