Recently, author/artist Thomas D. Taylor and I completed a commissioned painting for a prestigious literary festival. The Special Projects Coordinator was very definite with regards to what he wanted from the painting, and as the lead on the commissioned piece, I took notes at both meetings to ensure that I heard and understood what was expected of the project.
Hours of research went into learning the history of the subject of the painting, and even more research went into understanding the architecture of the period as well as the building materials that were used at the time. And, of course, everything from the sky to rocks was researched as where the subject is located determines what nature looks like (which differs from region to region).
While I won’t show you the tableau in its entirety, I will show you thumbnails from the painting and share with you the great amount of detail that went into every bit of this canvas. First off, the painting is acrylic on canvas and is 24 inches by 36 inches. Much of the painting was done with liner and spotting brushes (in fact, my favorite Loew-Cornell 7350 finally expired near the end of this commission).
The pebbles on the dirt path leading up to the house in the painting creates the impression that if you were to walk along the path in real life, your feet would feel each pebble and every stone you stepped on. The path itself is one of loose dirt and dirt packed down from the many people who have walked it.
The stone step is hard while the wood along the bottom of the painted fence gate is rough. Of note is the fact that the wood along the bottom of the painted fence gate and the stone step share the same colors. What creates the different effects is how much of each color was used, and how it was applied. And yes, that’s a bit of moss growing on the right hand side of the stone step.
Details can make or break any creative endeavor. In this case, the upstairs window — with its shutters open — shows a tree in front of the house reflected in the glass panes. It’s not sharp and defined because, truth be told, reflections in glass panes rarely are sharp and defined.
In both downstairs windows, sheers can be seen. While it would have been easier to just leave the windows clear, a house of this sort would have had drapes and either sheers or lace between the windows and the heavier drapery inside. During the day, the heavier drapes would have been pulled open and tied with sashes, leaving the sheers and lace to allow the sunshine to pour into the room without providing too much harsh lighting to penetrate.
And finally, among the small thumbnails I’m sharing today, is the modern man sitting on the fence reading a book. The book cover in the painting measures three-quarters of an inch tall by half an inch wide (which made it incredibly tricky to paint the cover). If you look closely, you’ll see that the man’s shirt also has buttons (another tricky and unbelievably small detail that needed to be included).
In the weeks to come, the Special Projects Coordinator will have the pleasure of unveiling the painting at WinterFest. Until then, however, all I can share with you are these thumbnails. I promise you, though, that I will upload a full view of the painting once the painting has been officially presented to the public.
Until then, enjoy these aspects of the painting that Thomas Taylor and I co-painted.