Here is what it looked like before this project:
The City of Kent recently commissioned me to create a utility-box mural as part of a City Art Project to beautify the city and also reduce graffiti.
The utility-box mural is located on the Interurban trail near the South Kent Park and Ride.
Here is what it looked like before this project:
And here is what it looks like now, so yes, beautification projects like this really work :) :
Some of you may recognize this design. It is based off my oil painting 'The Great Escape' from 2017:
My Spring 2018 Catalog of Original Art is now available.
Click here: Spring 2018 Catalog
Here is a behind-the-scenes peek on how my painting "Cube of Hearts" came to be.
Usually when I paint, I have a fairly good idea of what I want to create. With "Cube of Hearts", I decided to try a different approach, one where the painting would organically emerge from the marks. At least one artist I admire follows this process and I thought it would be worth emulating, just to see what happens. Here is what happened:
1. In the beginning, a lot of random abstract marks on a canvas. Doesn't look like much at this stage, and could turn into anything. I strengthen certain lines looking for patterns.
2. I keep painting randomly on it, trying to see where it goes. Busier and Messier. Which way is up? I turn the painting upside down and wonder: Is that a face on the top right quadrant and a cat in the bottom right quadrant. Maybe a monster of two?
3. I like some of the edges that show up at the top and decide to darken those areas to create a sense of sky, background, horizon and space:
4. I decided there is a hunched figure squatting in the foreground, and the cat in the bottom right is really more of a fox, given the bushy tail. I paint over the face to create a faceless blob. Maybe that'll be a creature of some kind.
5. I try to refine the figure, but realize it isn't working.
At this point I get stuck. I feel this painting isn't working and it's looking pretty un-aesthetic - not sure I can resuscitate it, Maybe the experiment is doomed for failure. I put it away.
For 6 months.
6. Six months later I put it back on the easel. I like the figure, I like the fox, I like the sky. Maybe I can do something with it after all. First thing I decide is that the figure is not going to be sitting, but floating. And if the figure is floating, better it floats, not over ground, but over clouds. Pink clouds. I'm so partial to pink clouds. The figure needs to be blue, to contrast the pink. and if the figure is blue, then the background needs to be orange to 'pop' the figure. And since the sky is blue, that'll tie the figure to the background, making the painting cohesive. And since the clouds are 'cool' that'll bring them to the front of the 'hot' orange background. Maybe this will work after all!
7. One week later, the fox is fleshed out and the figure has a dress ending in a mass of floating tendrils, one arm bent upwards - is it holding something? or holding onto something? I don't know yet. No happy with the face at this point though:
8. The tail on the fox is too fat. What exactly is that white blob in the back? Not liking the yellow hair - the color is too close to the background. I decide making the hair pink would give it more contrast (warm/cool) while also tying into the clouds and pulling the figure forward so it floats more:
9. The figure's eyes need to be open. The creature in the back needs to be friendly and furry:
10. I still have to figure out what the figure is doing with it's arms. Is it hanging from something: Balloons? A Rope? And what is it holding out near the fox: A crystal ball? A giant pearl? A heart? As I mull this over, inspiration comes from an unlikely source:
11. Meanwhile, I decide the other hand is holding onto... a parasol. Was that inspired by Mary Poppins? No idea, but it seems right. I decide the parasol needs to have a detailed Victorian look:
12. Now the painting is finally coming together. Lots of finishing touches - color progressions on the face, refinement on the fox. I decide the fox shouldn't have it's eyes open - it's more mysterious if the fox is smiling with eyes closed, which also matches the blobby monster in the background. I also need to fix the fox's muzzle - it seems a little off:
13: Final touches - the cube needs more refinement, and the white monster is standing out too much and needs to be 'knocked back' and the blue on the dress is contrasting too much with the orange. I need to harmonize the painting by glazing over both the dress and the white monster with a dilute orange glaze. Finally we are done:
In conclusion, this was an interesting experiment. I would never have come up with this image if I was trying to pre-conceive it so there is something to be said for 'emergent painting'. That said, this painting also took a loooong time from start to finish so I'm not too keen to devoting that much time to a single painting. Hard to make a living as an artist that way :)
Hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes peek!
This year, 2017, I managed to paint 'only' 90-plus paintings. Must.Do.Better.Next.Year! :P
Note: All the images above are 'To Scale', relative to each other.
I accept commissions for paintings that are aligned to my whimsical vision and style.
Here are examples of some commissioned paintings I have completed, which should give you some idea of how you too may request a commission:
Price ranges for commissions are as follows (current as of Jan 2018 and subject to change):
* Ink Drawings and Sketches 6"x6", 7"x10", 9"x12", 11"x14": $65-$300
* SMALLER paintings 8"x8", 8"x10", 9"x12", 12"x12", 11"x14": $350-$750
* MEDIUM-sized paintings 12"x16". 16"x20", 18"x24": $500-$1500
* LARGER paintings 24"x24", 20"x30", 24"x30", 24"x36", 36"x48"+: $1750-$4500+
Exact quote will depend on the complexity of the project, whether the painting will be in oils or acrylics, how much research & preparation time the project requires, how urgently you want it completed, and how much the commission will disrupt all my other ongoing projects :). Exact quote could be more or less than the above guideline ranges. Frames are not included in the commission price, unless I tell you otherwise. State sales tax will apply for WA state residents. Oil paintings typically cost more than acrylic paintings.
Commission terms are as follows:
* Half-payment up front to initiate project.
* Upon completion of project, you can choose whether to accept the finished piece or not.
* If you choose to accept the finished piece, remaining half-payment is due on delivery.
* If you choose not to accept the finished piece (because you changed your mind or you didn't like how it turned out), no payment is due and you can walk away from the piece, but the first half payment will not be refunded (it compensates artist for time and materials consumed) and artist will retain the finished piece.
* Any studies or intermediate works generated in the process of creating the piece are property of the artist and not part of the transaction.
For commissions to recreate one of my previously-sold paintings or other designs, please note that painting is an organic process full of 'happy accidents' and while I will try my best, it is more than likely that the finished piece will differ from it's predecessor. Some variation is inevitable, and should be welcomed as it ensures the commissioned piece will be truly unique.
To initiate a conversation about a commission, start by sending me an email.
Please note that I reserve the right to decline your commission proposal if I conclude it does not align with my artistic direction and vision. I will let you know up front before you commit yourself.
Here is a link to my latest quarterly Artist Newsletter dated Nov 2017.
Sign up here to receive it in e-mail,
I am honored to be part of a 2-person show at the City of Kent Centennial Center Gallery, along with my friend and master pastel artist Barbara Noonan. The show runs through end-Dec 2017 and the gallery space is open M-F 8-5 located at 400 W Gowe St, Kent, WA 98032 .
Here is a fabulous video of the exhibition that aired on Kent TV recently (My interview starts around the 3:50 mark):
I have 16 original pieces in this show: