Monday, February 6, 2017

First of Three Commission Paintings... with process shots!

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


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! :)


Jamie Stevens said...

The painting is wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your process! I hope to explore more landscapes soon

Sharon L. Graves said...

Good on you girl! I always love seeing your process photos. I always learn a lot. Congrats on the commissions. I was wondering where you had been.

Gayle said...

Congratulations Laurel. It's so interesting to follow your process and really appreciate your sharing this. I can relate to the "scariness" of tackling a gargantuan commission - the largest I ever did was 4' X 6'. Fortunately for me, the person who requested this told me to take all the time I needed! Our house is very small, so I had to velcro (the 2" self-adhesive type) it to the dining room wall which then became my temporary studio. All the best in your projects.

Laurel Daniel said...

Thank you Jamie, Sharon and Gayle... I'm so glad you found these process shots to be informative!!

Gayle, I also have had to rearrange my world to get this large piece done. My home studio did not provide the space needed for backing up, so I moved everything into the living room. It has kind of taken over everything... I will post pictures of that when I show that piece. AND I will be happy to put my home back in place! ;)

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laurel,

I love this and the process shots. Amazing and congratulations. How incredibly exciting! Seeing the changes you made as you went along is wonderful, and validating -- even reality has to be changed to make a great painting. Awesome.


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Love, Love Love the pencil drawing and the sepia block in.