Thursday, July 14, 2011

Freda Fall! Commission Complete!


Freda Point, 30 x 40" oil on gallery wrap canvas, commission for Stephanie and David Johnson 2011


This was my work for the winter!  Late last summer, I was lucky to get a wonderful commission.  This painting is large—30” x 40”, gallery wrapped canvas.  It was done in oil.  I have varnished it and will be wrapping it up to mail over the weekend.  I’m so excited for the owner to get it! 

I have done many commissions over my artistic life—mostly landscapes, sometimes pets or people—I’ve even done people’s homes or other structures that mean something to the buyer.  Commissions are an animal all by themselves, because you have to get inside the head of the buyer, to find out what they want or envision the painting to be.  How I start is with a conversation with the individual.  I show them some of my work.  Sometimes they will see me painting on the road or in a park—painting in oils, and they may want a watercolor.  So I send them samples of my watercolor work to make sure they want the style I have.  If they do not have an actual photo or place in mind, I may send them a bunch of photos and ask them to pick out what they would like.  Then, I make my painting—loosely off that photo. 

The reason I say loosely, is because sometimes the photo does not give me enough information or not the colors that the buyer wants.  That was the case in this example.  The colors were rather drab in the photo, plus the buyer wanted more golds instead of oranges in the photo.  So, I did a pencil sketch of what I envisioned, and emailed that to her for approval.  She was easy to work she loved it right away.  If she wanted it different, we would have had another conversation for me to try and determine what she wanted. 

I then worked on a color sketch for her to approve.  It was a 6 x 8” panel.  Because I didn’t see her room, I wanted to make sure I had the right colors of gold and maroon.  I wanted the main focal point to be the large gold tree and she loved it.  After I got her approval I started with the large painting. 

Since this was a difficult winter for me, my work was slow.  I had to get my mind on the painting—that was too difficult for me due to the loss of my mother.  I did other art…smaller paintings during that time, just to be keeping myself in practice of oil painting..and to push through the fear of failure on this large painting.  After the Spring came, I was able to start again, anew. 

Commissions have challenges not like any other painting you may do, as you need to think with someone else’s brain.  Don’t be afraid of doing them however.  Painting something that someone else loves is a great joy.  To see someone so excited about a painting that hasn’t been done yet—yes, It’s pressure, but also joy.  Communicate at every opportunity and don’t be afraid to change things that you thought were ok.   By learning about someone else’s vision, you may see something that you didn’t realize was there—and that’s wonderful!!! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011




In the long winter months, I don’t paint out much.  When I do, it’s usually in the car..getting paint on all the knobs, steering wheel and myself.  This year, we have been sticking close to home.  So, I decided to take an intermediate oil class to get me going, learn some new techniques, cyber meet some new friends, get ready for a plein air summer!!

One of our assignments was to do a “broken color” type painting.  Each of us worked on the same photo and it was amazing how many variations we all had.  I was pretty frustrated as this is not how I’m used to working.  I wiped out my first attempt, because I instinctively wanted to blend, blend, blend.  After investigating exactly what was broken color, I did this attempt.  Even though it’s not museum material, I really had a lot of fun exploring this method of painting!  It was actually a bit freeing, but take my colors right off my palette and dab!  The the eye do the blending! 

The point of this blog post is to FLY…STRETCH….DISCOVER….PUSH your art and yourself!  Try something new…a technique, and medium, a style…make it your own!  You will never know unless you try!! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Tricked Out Tool Box…



It’s been one month today that we lost our Mother.  She was a special woman of many, many talents.  One of her talents was she was the go-to person to fix things around the house.  She could be hard, and move rocks for landscaping, as well as fashion conscience by making her prom dress (by hand) or knitting Barbie clothes for me and my sisters. 

She spent her working hours usually at factories, of which she had the interest.  Her last job was at GE Medical Systems as an inspector of Xray tubes.  The new things, MRI’s and CT scans were just starting to be used.  She gave me her tool box, probably because I didn’t have one.  I never used it, as it was a little rusty, and I wanted to use it for something special.  I saw some videos on Tim Holtz items and his fabulous alcohol inks, so I thought I would try it out. 

First thing I did was try and get rid of some of the rust.  My dear husband showed me that with a little gun oil, you can diminish the rust.  I scrubbed the toolbox, inside and out with a rag and the gun oil and got it so all the rust turned a brown color.  I let it set for a couple of weeks so I could gather some other materials together from Joann’s. 

I used the alcohol ink in various colors, a dark purple, a dark blue, a red and the gold mixtivie.  Along with those colors, I applied them with the Tim Holtz ink applicator and some alcohol blending solution.  I also bought the little gears which are on the sides of the box and the Tim Holtz vintage type writer keys.  I decorated the box with little gems and die cuts, distressed and then decoupaged on all the areas.  I chose the die cuts (from K & Company’s Que Sera Sera package) that meant something in her life.  To the celtic knots in the front, to the roses, birds, and butterflies.  I also got some nice tin roses that I put to surround her name label.  Please feel free to visit my Flickr site at:    to see more pictures as well as close ups on all sides. 

I am keeping all my colored pencil tools now inside.  I rarely travel with my colored pencils, as my methods are very slow and detailed.  But, if I wanted to, I could take this tool box out.  It weighs less than 5lbs.  In it I have my battery operated eraser, blending pencils and markers, some Prismacolor Art Stix, erasing tools, ruler, and brush.   I hope I honored her memory and her personality by embellishing this tool box. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Goodbye Mother—My best friend



I lost my Mom this week.  She was 85, to be 86 on Feb 10th.  She got a 2nd bout of pneumonia a couple of weeks ago, and was all ready to go home this past Wednesday, and she must have suffered an pulmonary embolism, and died in her sleep, just 2 hours after I talked to her for the last time.  Here is a painting I did of her when she was probably only 3 or 4 years old.  I gave it to her on Mother’s Day in 2005.  I got my artistic touch from her as she loved art and did a little bit of it. 

She was a busy Mom through her life, so she didn’t get to fully see where her creativity would take her, but she always encouraged me.  She was my cheerleader, the person I would tell everything to, practically on a daily basis.  I am not ready to let her go, but I must.  I will be giving her eulogy this Tuesday evening as I try to say goodbye to her.   I still remember her kiss on my cheek last fall when I was down to visit her for my birthday.  I took a colored pencil class and I went over to her house to show her my drawings.  I shared some of my colored pencils with her and encouraged her to draw again.  Her COPD and emphysema though, took too much out of her, and she never did.   So Tuesday, I go down to Milwaukee to pick up all the art work that I made for her that graced her walls and bring them back home.  They will forever remind me of her love—she had one painting up on her wall since I did it back when I was 21!  (I’m 57 now). 

Thank you Mother for everything you ever gave to me…your strength, your vision, your love.  I love you. 

To everyone:  Enjoy the loved ones in your life, every single day.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  After moving away from my mother 12 years ago, I got into the habit of telling her that I loved her every single time I talked to her.  Last Tuesday night, when I was talking to her, rejoicing that she was going home the next day, I ended our call, just like I always did, telling her that I loved her, she returned the same…and we hung up.  She passed away less than 2 hours later.  I was so glad that I began that little tradition…of telling people that I loved them.  You never know. 

Thank you to anyone that reads this…please go and hug your mother or your daughter or any loved one.  They are here.  Peace,