Tales from a commissioned artist:I “raison d’être”

This is going to be an ongoing series of stories or mere snippets about the commissions I have painted, the people I have painted them for, and the tales of the ensuing drama of painting and meeting a clients dreams, hopes and expectations. Many artists loath the process of  painting commissions for the “constriction” it places on the artistic process. But….

“what else is POSSIBLE:)”

What if we, “I am talking to you artists out there!”, saw a customer’s request as an opportunity to play with a subject matter in a different way than we would normally play with it. This is my mental trick I play on myself when painting a commission. I am given a “box” with particular things in it. What are the possibilities? What is  the clients reason for wanting this painting… a memory from childhood, a treasured moment? What is the emotion sought by the client? Love, peace, humor, nostalgia, pride? Is there a story? How does this extra information and point of view the client shares change how we might depict the subject?


This is, or was, Debbie’s Barn. It was nestled between her childhood home and the family’s fields. You may perceive that it has seen better days. If fact, it was to be demolished soon and she wanted something to remember it by. I got directions and permission and photographed it early one summer day. I painted it boldly and loosely. I added touches of orange for color balance and to hint that the barn was in the autumn of its life. I also invested a sense of play and joy. Knowing Debbie, that was a big part of her childhood and I can only imagine the adventures she had as a little girl growing up on a farm!


Debbie’s Barn, 24×30, oil on canvas

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