Given how long it has been since I've posted anything new here at all, I am almost embarrassed to write another "yes I'm still here" post. But here goes! The baby is now less than a month away from her due date and I am finally feeling as if I have gotten our household in some kind of order to prepare for her arrival. Unfortunately, now that I'm getting a little respite from the baby books, the shower, the classes, and prepping the nursery, I am, in this final trimester, also feeling my least energetic and creative. In truth, I don't think I was prepared for just how exhausted I'd feel throughout the pregnancy. But now that I'm getting really big, I can't really seem to do any one thing for very long before I start to feel quite uncomfortable. So needless to say, painting has pretty much taken a back seat during most of my pregnancy, and it's hard to say when that will change to any great extent after the baby comes. However, I do have one new little piece to share. It's a small watercolor/pen and ink painting (8x10" on 11x14" paper) that a client commissioned to commemorate her daughter's upcoming wedding:
The scene is of a B&B in the Chianti region, not far from where I myself have traveled a number of times. It's a special place to the betrothed because they met in Italy and stayed at Fagiolari during their travels through Tuscany together.
When I paint from photos, I prefer to work from my own references. I just have a much better feeling for the place if I, myself, have traveled and painted there, and my photos serve as a trigger to call forth those experiences. I also take several different viewpoints of a given scene, plus a number of details, so that I can have as much information as possible when I get to work. So it's always with a bit of reservation when I consider working from a client's photo, which is normally more of a one-off tourist snapshot.
But this commission was actually quite a joy for me. Not only was it great to be doing something in the painting realm again, but the photos provided were excellent. Having also traveled the area fairly extensively myself helped a good deal as well. Plus I was given much leeway as to how I wanted to interpret them (the photos) and what I wanted to include, rather than being tied to making an exact, literal interpretation(a.k.a. an illustration) of a scene.
What was most important to the client was that I capture the "flavor" of the place (hence the painting's title). Luckily, the client was delighted with the finished piece, and I had a good time getting my hands back in some art-making to boot. I tend to feel somewhat more intimidated by watercolors (as opposed to oils) but given its manageable size and the properties of the medium, I was able to stop and start more easily than I can with oils. It's not without reason to think that maybe I can even attempt a few more before "D-day" (or make that B-day) but we'll see. The one thing I can say about my life this past year is that it is anything but predictable!