State on Congress, 34 x 44, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2017
First of three commissions for Dell Seton Medical Center
The new teaching hospital at University of Texas, Austin
I know I have been radio silent for a long time. Here is the deal... sometimes things happen in life that are just BIG. I have been completely distracted and painting non-stop on my largest commission project ever. It consists of three paintings for the Dell Seton Medical Center, our brand new teaching hospital at the University of Texas, which opens in May, 2017! Soon!
The commission is huge, both in honor (I am thrilled to be chosen) and in size... two are 34x44" and the third one is 5 feet by 6 feet (the largest painting I have ever made!) The "smaller" two are now on their way to the client for framing and installation, and I am hoping to wrap up the BIG one in the next week or so.
Below are process shots of the first piece, "State on Congress". This one is based on a painting I did a few years ago that was much smaller and square (18x18). The submission process included reworking the scene into a horizontal landscape shape, which I presented as a pencil sketch and small color maquette. Once approved, I began the actual painting. I hope you enjoy seeing the progression of its development.
Pencil Sketch for commission, 8x10
Color Maquette for commission, 12 x 15
BELOW - PROCESS SHOTS OF 34 x 44" COMMISSION PIECE
Step 1 - Block-In - design and composition of scene.
I use a dark neutral paint tone, lightly applied to indicate shapes and values.
Step 2 - Mass-In large areas of color and value.
I mass in shadow areas of painting first, and work dark to light.
Step 3 - Mass-in large "lit" areas, keeping everything simple.
Note that building in the dead center got moved. ;) Sorry for the bad photo but I wanted to show this stage and it's all I have.
Step 4 - Break up masses and final marks.
I use subtle value shifts to indicate form and detail, adding final highlights and lowlights last. Note that the tall building on right got shortened. It's never too late to make changes!
Coming Up: Process Shots of the other two pieces, and some thoughts on how to approach a commission. I am making a list a "take-aways" to share with you, so please stay tuned! :)