Thursday, November 11, 2010

Learning New Tricks: Part II (sketches)

Usually when I'm working on an idea for an artwork, I am abstracting from something I've seen, a photo I've taken, or an idea that's just popped into my head.  Sometimes I will just take some fabrics and play with them without any preconceived notion.  That's pretty rare, as most of the time I am working from a sketch.

I think I've mentioned before that I have a harder time creating something when there are "outside" limitations imposed on me.  For example, the themes and color palettes used for the "play along" pieces I do with the Twelve by Twelve group.  Also, years ago I tried some fabric challenges (where you are given a specific fabric to work with) and those where really hard for me.  I decided I would not participate in any of those again.

Size restrictions are sometimes hard.  I definitely have a harder time with a square format, which is what the Twelve by Twelve group uses and I have yet to adhere to.  I have done some square pieces but most of them just started with a square and I started playing with fabric to fit on the square.

So, creating sketches for a commission piece was quite challenging for me.  Some of the reasons why?
1) The patron wants a square piece.
2) The patron wants bright colors (I usually tend toward earthy colors)
3) The patron wants a piece with "high energy" (In many of my pieces I am trying to go for a calm effect).
4)  I don't know the patron personally or his likes, except for the picture of the painting.
5) The patron wanted something abstract (maybe meaning more like non-objective)
6) The patron wants a minimum size of 3 ft. by 3 ft.  (I don't usually work that large.  But I was thinking not too long ago that I should try a really big piece just to see what it is like.  How serendipitous that an opportunity to make a large piece arose!)

After seeing that, you may wonder why he approached me at all.  I wondered the same thing, but he must have seen something in my work he liked.  He did say he wanted me to do my own work.

I was trying to think of where I could possibly start since I didn't have any ideas.  What I decided to do was look through some of my photos hoping that I could get inspiration that way.  I poured over our photos on the computer, printed some out, racked my brain, obsessed, looked through books and did many, many thumbnail sketches to try to come of with just a few I thought would be good enough.

From our first meeting until our meeting where I was to present my sketches, I had about three weeks.  Almost an entire week of that time was when I was away for my college reunion.  I brought sketch books, pencils and photos with me hoping I would be able to work on it, but I could not.

Below you can see some of the thumbnails and sketches in progress.

Next installment: finalizing sketches.

1 comment:

Lisa Hochstein said...

Hi Lisa,
Interesting situation. In general, I don't do commissions, even though I get approached regularly. I'm glad you're posting about the process and am eager to see how it turns out. It does sound unusual that the things this person wants are the opposite of the usual characteristics of your work. Please keep writing about it and sharing your experience. I hope you have a breakthrough and that you not only get the piece done to your client's satisfaction, but also to your own. Who knows, it may open up some new directions for you.