Who doesn’t smile when purchasing or receiving an amazing handmade item? Whether it’s jewelry, a painting, toy, card or a tote bag, receiving something handmade means someone invested time in the item you hold in your hand. Someone took the time to develop the idea, create the item and then sell it to the person that took the time to select it just for you.
This process can be even more fulfilling when an artist can work closely with someone to create a unique piece that meets his or her own vision. This past year I have had the pleasure of completing commissioned art works for my friend and my husband’s uncle. It was an amazing experience creating for these two people and their projects couldn’t have been more different.
I was approached my husband’s uncle Ken, who was looking for an artwork for his office in his new house. Ken is an interesting individual with a love for singing and history. The Naval Hymn is one of his favorite songs to sing and the USS Constitution is his favorite ship. Naturally, these two loves became the focus of my plan for his painting.
I was given full creative license to combine these elements, and it took me quite some time to figure out how I was going to do this. I researched and found several reference photographs of the USS Constitution and the sheet music for the Naval Hymn. I settled on incorporating them both into one painting. The sheet music, which I drew by hand, became the base layer on which I painted the USS Constitution, and I don’t think it could have come together better judging by the smile on Ken’s face!
Another project I took on was for my friend Christy. She was putting together her daughter’s big girl room and was looking for some artwork to be part of a gallery wall. I was really excited at the opportunity to contribute to this surprise for her daughter and was thrilled by the idea that she will enjoy my art everyday as she grows up. Christy and I collaborated on the design. She sent me some reference photographs and I brainstormed some ideas for her artwork. After batting some ideas around, she selected a design that mimics the pattern of the bedding in her daughter’s room and I set to work painting.
This is what Christy had to say about her experience.
“I commissioned Kim to paint something for my daughter’s “big girl room.” Amy was turning 4 and the approaching birth of her sister required room rearranging in our home. Kim was thoughtful and professional. She wanted to get a feeling for our overall “theme” of the room and asked for pictures of the bedding. We could do be more pleased with the outcome. The unicorn brings some magic to her gallery wall. We were so touched to also receive some gorgeous name art. It also matching her room and looks fantastic. Thank you Kim! We appreciate your talent and your kindness.” -Christy
Each of these commissions was very different, but I enjoyed every minute of the creative process for both projects. Commissions can be challenging because you have to work within parameters set by the client and spend time refining your ideas to meet their vision. However, knowing that my art will be displayed in their homes and putting smiles on their faces everyday is an amazing feeling and well worth the effort.