Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Painting Flies to France

In June, a friend of mine asked if I would be willing to do a painting for her that she would give to friends in France when she visited them this summer.  She wanted me to do a painting of their garden. That sounded like something I would like to do so I said yes. She obtained photos and gave three of them to me telling me to choose the one I preferred. Two of the photos focused mostly on a large, lovely coral-toned bungalow with a pool running the length of it. I chose the photo that showed a peek of the house and pool but more of the garden--an interesting tropical mixture of palm trees, pruned shrubs and flowers. And I have to say, those palm trees surprised me! When I think of a French garden, I have a different picture in my head--I guess mostly because we've visited the less temperate zones of France.

If you have ever done a commissioned work, you'll know about the extra pressure it carries. In this case there was a double level:  I wanted my friend to be happy with the painting as well as the final recipients.  It's also challenging to work from someone else's photo (no two photographer's eyes are the same) of a place you've never visited.  Plus I never want to simply replicate a photo.  So I found myself holding my breath a lot when I did this painting.


Meeko gave me moral support.  He is getting better at resting quietly in my studio while I paint, although he is still a work in progress too.

I tried to be true to most of the details of the scene while still making it look like one of my paintings. I infused it with more light. I guessed at some architectural features that were hidden by foliage in the photo. I tried to give it a happy feeling.  I've shown you a few photos so you can see its progress as I built up the detail.  The painting took me several days.

Painting of Cap Ferret House & Garden - Final Version
I delivered the painting to my friend last Friday. She was pleased and I got a big hug. The painting travelled with her to France on the weekend and sometime in the next two weeks, it will be given to her friends. My fingers are crossed that they will be happy with my interpretation of their lovely property.

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When we were in New York, I was able to visit Anthropologie for the first time. I think I was grinning the whole time I was there. What a lovely store. I bought myself that beautiful yellow and blue mug in the top photo. And I also bought Geninne's gorgeous 'Write Everyday' Journal.

13 comments:

  1. doing a commissioned piece is hard enough in that you have to appeal to the other person's ego. (I was an illustrator for many years)
    But to do a commissioned piece for someone you don't know, from photos of a place you've never seen is even harder.
    but I have to say: you did a beautiful piece and I'm sure the recipient will love it!

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    1. Thanks so much, Barbara. Your comments mean a lot to me.

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  2. Your friend was so right to have you for getting this wonderful gift done ! You are so talented at what you do ! Well done, Kathleen !
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you Sonia. You warm my heart.

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  3. The painting looks lovely, light and summery. I think I've been to Cap Ferret? I spent a few happy summers in Antibes, south of France when i was about 18. I think they will love it, what a novel idea. Meeko looks to be settling in there! That's lovely :)

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    1. Thanks Julie for your ongoing support. I know from my research that there is Cap Ferrat in the South of France and Cap Ferret on the west coast of France and that there is often confusion between the two. My painting is of a property in Cap Ferret on the west coast. Those sound like lovely summers. :)

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    2. I thought there was an A in there somewhere, it was a beautiful place. :)

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  4. It is just lovely Kathleen! They will all love it I'm sure.

    I used to labour over every detail, but I think people want to see "you" in a painting, and I think you've done that exceptionally well.

    Commissions do very bad things to my blood pressure and temperment. I'm just not cut out to offer them.

    Well done you!

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    1. Thanks Cindy! I appreciate your comments in every way.

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  5. Your painting is lovely. I am sure your friend's friends will love it! Lots of stress I am sure!
    Anthropologie is a wonderful store! I always find things I love.
    Meeko looks very comfortable...your studio has a amazing light!
    Drought and extreme heat are keeping me inside....
    Sherry, who dances with butterflies

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    1. Thanks very much Sherry. The studio does have a nice skylight. I sometimes wish I had windows there that were lower down that I could see out of but I would probably spend too much time daydreaming. :) Hope your weather improves soon.

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  6. you really did a fantastic job and for me it exudes the feeling you get when you visit the south of france. It is nice that you can visit toronto if you need another anthropologie fix:)

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    1. Thanks so much Margie. There are a few nice stores that still haven't made their way to Montreal but it's true I can visit them while visiting family in Toronto.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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