I don't know what it is about some commissions but when I really want to do my best, it seems that the opposite happens. This is the commission that's due for Christmas and that I had a really good start on but I ended up hating it!
This may look awful at this stage but the colors are just being tried out and laid in and I don't think it will look this colorful when it's finished - certainly there's a lot more detail to do. However, once I just turned loose and decided that I was going to do it the way I first saw it in my mind's eye, it's begun to go more smoothly. I hope it goes smoothly to the finish!
My customer is a wonderful woman who has ordered from me before and who has always said to paint the way I want to. She believes that the end product will be better if I'm given that freedom. I don't know whether she's right or wrong.
On the one hand she knows my style of painting so she knows about what she's getting. On the other hand, she knows my style of painting based on other pet portraits! What she doesn't know is that realistic pet portraiture is pretty strictly regulated by what the owner/commissioner sees as their pet. In other words, most owners don't give me free rein - they want a portrait that looks very much like like the photos they give me only a little more painterly.
So, when I'm told to paint it the way I want to, I tend to tighten up and wonder if that's really what's meant or if they think I've painted other portraits "the way I wanted" and are basing those words on those portraits! I've told others to do something the way they wanted and it ended up being something far, far from my mental image of what I thought it should be. Can you see my dilemma? Mostly, it's just that I really care that the commissioner is blessed by what I've done and I'm never really sure what will please them. Sometimes it's better to be told what is expected!
With this portrait, I really see it as a realistic portrait and I have problems doing much else other than realism anyway. However, when I first saw these photos, I was struck by all the luscious colors in the coat of this "white" dog and I literally itched to put them in.
At first, I didn't and I wasn't pleased with the portrait at all. Now I've gone back and put in those golds and creams and lavenders and peaches and blues in the base and the dog is coming to life. Or, at least she is in my opinion!
I hope this turns out the way I see it in my mind. As I said, this is for a wonderful woman and it would crush me to disappoint her in any way. I'm sure she has a mind picture of what this should look like and I can only hope my vision matches hers!