Creating “Calif.”

Posted: January 4, 2014

Original color sketch for Calif.

“Calif. ”
Acrylic on wood Panel 4ft. x 7ft


(The painting not the state)
was created as a commission piece for a private party.

From start to finish, it was a very interesting process of making the Calif. painting.

Creating commission artwork is a hybrid of fine art and commercial art. A lot of my work is commission work, and I enjoy the parameter of “realizing someone else’s vision” and being able to utilize my skills to guide in such way, that the painting remains unique to my style and is a fulfillment of the client’s expectations.

I had been taught the definitions of fine art and commercial art are basically this:
Fine Art = Creating art that pleases me.
Commercial Art = Creating art that pleases someone else.
I find there is a grey area in-between fine and commercial art that I am very 
comfortable with.
Is that called “Formmercial”?

4ft. x 7ft. wood panel being created as the canvas.

I had a discussion recently with my artist friend Greg Pickens. He also finds a great satisfaction in creating artwork on a commission type basis.
Working this way creates an interesting challenge – to embrace a subject you don’t initially gravitate to, nor would have selected on your own. Additionally, to find a way to reflect your own artistic voice – pinpointing a balance to collaborate the vision – but not overtaking it.

Most people do not think of art as “problem solving” – but there is a lot of creative problem solving involved in the formation of any piece of art. Composition, color palette, rendering, and when to stop…when is enough, enough?
Every mark you make is a decision.

Furthermore, Calif., had some of the same types of challenges of my prior public art projects – the large size (4ft. x 7ft.), creation of the wood canvas, mounting hardware, delivery and installation – even moving it within my studio was a 2-person operation.
Calif.  became like a good art workout.
I had assistance and advice from people who had experience and skills that were spot on – therefore all challenges had good end results.

So what am I saying?
Calif. was not an easy project, but what it is…is a successful project
 from start to finish.
Link to the full photo progression of Calif.

The finished piece right before it left the studio