Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas commission challenge....

Now that Christmas is out of that way I can post about the three 'Christmas present' commissions I had this year. What made these interesting was the increasing difficulty and decreasing notice of the three. For the first I had a couple of months notice, nice, straightforward child portrait. No problem at all. A single, lovely reference photo that just about jumped off the screen and plenty of time. The next was a double portrait of two collies in late November, multible reference photos and a bit of compositional jiggling needed....Still no problem, a harder subject but a few weeks was still enough time to get the job done.

In mid December came the real test though, a big landscape commission (I find landscapes to be the toughest subject)...and I only had a matter of days...a very few get it completed. It was a sunset view of a local range of hills called Rincon Ridge, fortunately they are right here in Fox Bay so I dashed out to get some references for the hills and foreground, a quick sort through my sky ref photos for a suitable sunset sky and a bit of photoshopping produced a workable composition so there I was, ready to go but it had to be finished, sent to towm to get framed and be back here before the big day. Really wasn't sure if I could achieve it.

But I did, Jane in the Pink Shop pulled out the stops to get it framed and sent back in time.

So here are my three Christmas commissions in order of increasing difficulty and tightening deadlines:

Ashleigh, soft pastels on 30 X 40cm yellow pastelmat.

Marni & Zia, hard pastels and pastel pencils on 30 X 40cm grey pastelmat. (really enjoyed doing this one)

Rincon Ridge, Soft pastels, hard pastels and pastel pencils on 50 X 70cm grey pastelmat. (This was tough but in the end rewarding, I didn't get stuck and it turned out better than I dared hope).

I learnt a lot from doing this painting, if I'm being honest with myself I was afraid of attempting large landscapes, the few I'd done felt like flukes. In finishing this commission I've managed to lay some of that fear to rest, I'm now quite looking forward to the next one (which BTW is already in the pipeline...and involves painting buildings as well as natural features....ulp!)


  1. It's scary accepting a commission--especially when it's a portrait of someone's loved one. Good for you! And it came out great! My first portrait commission was of a guy's deceased wife. She was old looking to my twenty something year old eyes. I painted her as I saw her. He wouldn't pay. Big mistake on my part. Haven't taken a portrait commission since. You've got kahunas.

  2. Thank you. That was bad luck to complete a commission and not be paid. I've not yet had someone ask me to do a painting of a deceased person but I've heard from other artists that it's the toughest to do. Portriats of the living are OK though and portraits of pets are great fun, especially dogs...I love doing dogs.

  3. Love your commissions Ben. In fact love your art work.

  4. all quite lovely Ben, wonderful work.