Monday, January 11, 2016

Golden Memories - The Progression of a Commission

Golden Memories, 30 x 40, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016

Toward the end of last year, I was commissioned to do a very large painting as a Christmas gift. Commissions are not my favorite thing to do, but I am a hopeless romantic and my client's request was too compelling to pass up! He wanted a painting of the spot where he proposed to his wife at sunset - overlooking Lake Austin - while they were students at UT in the late 80's. After graduation, they moved away, had a family, and their own children are now in college. All these years later, he wanted to surprise her with that scene. Well... how could I say no? 

To make things more interesting, the scene itself is now completely overgrown with trees and shrubbery. The view is gone, and my client didn't have a photograph! Remember the days when we were not obsessively snapping photos on our phones, documenting every activity? Here's the great part - he remembered the colors and the angles, EVERYTHING really... including where the sun went down on the horizon!!! 

As most commissions go, there was a lot of collaboration back and forth, all by computer (since we were working long distance). Between the two of us - using his incredible memory and my research of other spots on that same hillside - we came up with "Golden Memories". Many thanks, MZ, and may the golden memories be always with you!

Here are a few outtakes from our process...

Composition Study, 8 x 10, graphite on paper
This was the final pencil sketch for the design and composition of the painting. I did 7-8 versions before we settled on this one.

Color Study, 9 x 12, oil on panel
As with the composition, the color study underwent several corrections and adjustments. (We even tried adding some bluebonnets, but decided to leave them out in the final.)

Underpainting, 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas
This acrylic underpainting allowed me to get approval for placement and shapes before diving in with oils. I don't usually include this step when painting large work on my own, but it was very helpful for staying on the same page with my client.

Golden Memories, 30 x 40, oil on canvas, L.Daniel © 2016
I had quite a lot of fun working on this, and was very glad I took it on. Receiving the "well done, brushes down" confirmation from my client brought me great joy!

The framed piece. 

H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R !


Corinne Murphy said...

Oh Laurel, this is just exquisite. Given the beauty of the locale and the meaning behind the commission, I think you made two people very, very happy indeed. Even I can feel the love in this painting!!

Teri said...

Beautiful spot - beautiful painting!
Laurel, I do think this is very near the spot where my (now son-in-law) proposed to my daughter. They got married March 2015 and live in Austin and happily we get to visit in March/April. I am taking the Nancy Tankersley workshop!
loyal follower,

Barbara Muir said...

How beautiful! A superb painting, and a moving story. So lovely.