the commission

I'm used to commissions, as an illustrator of 30 years, I've done plenty. More than anything else I like the challenge of solving a problem on a deadline, might be why I took to plein air the way I did, it's sort of the same thing only there's no client, shorter turn time and no guarantee of financial remuneration. The painting above is an 80x90 on a cradled art box which is kind of a shadow box but you paint the back.... it's a great way to showcase more contemporary work and there's no framing involved.

This project was for our own Amway Center, the new state of the art arena here in Orlando. I'd done two pieces before for them in similar sizes just not quite as big. The company that handles the art placement called me while I was in Grand Canyon and asked if I could do it, gave me a fixed budget which was fine but little time to produce it. I had about two weeks and one of them still had to be spent in GC painting. I had my trusty iPad with me and used it to google the building and get references etc to do iSketching with. The client really wanted this one particular vantage point of the structure which, in my opinion, was terribly boring. And I had to wait to get home to shoot it so more time off the clock.

Because there was no time for sketches and color studies, this is what I did... a photoshop photo collage, the same process I used on the other two paintings I did for them. It was a fast way to get a fractured semi-distorted view of the boring side of the building. Without this approach it was a bunch of straight lines. The client said "OK!".

I'd called in to our very own framer here at the studios, Cindy Anderson, and ordered the box while still in Arizona and it was waiting for me when I got back. With 5 days till deadline the wood box got 3 coats of gesso and the initial drawing and a quick wash-in of under color. While I'm waiting for this to set up I'm running to the art store to buy the biggest tubes of the cheapest paint I could find... Pebeo. Actually not bad considering the grade of paint.

Because I had the reference, there was little thinking about what was going where, the painting became more about the paint handling than anything. So that the bottom paint would set up fast and spread better I mixed in a ton of galkyd light. In the heat of the studio those layers dried really quickly. I would paint for around 16 hours a day working from the top down trying to get it all covered and praying it would be dry enough to varnish in time


Thanks to copious amounts of thinners and driers, the thing was dry enough that I could coat it with a thinned down soluvar to give it a little sheen and seal it. Signed, sealed and delivered.

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