When my clients travel, they often want something physical to embody the special memories they make on their trips. They generally come to me to capture those memories in the form of commissions. Sometimes, however, they have such a wonderful time that they need something a little larger than a single piece.
“It is such a privilege to work with my clients to create a special souvenir of an extraordinary moment or adventure in their life. To have them trust me to capture their memories in a way that can conjure up the feelings they had during a particular experience is an honor and a responsibility that I don’t take lightly. Collaborating with my collectors in this process is a very rewarding experience and often opens doors for me into a new theme or subject matter for an expanded body of work.”
That was the case for my clients when they took a vacation to various places in Africa in November 2018. The couple knew they wanted to invite artists to create a unique painting and sculpture installation. They commissioned me to do the paintings.
Hung above and to the left of the piano, here’s the full installation.
The project design began in early January 2019, starting with an initial review of hundreds of reference photos. Once the detailed design layout was done, we came together and finalized the subject matter for the 10 new paintings.
One of the originals created for the project, Portrait of a Lion, 10" x 8”, watercolor on cradled board
Between April and July, I painted 10 new original pieces featured in the collection, both animals and landscapes. Many of these scenes were new challenges for me, especially in the watercolor medium. I had never painted anything with fur, hair, or skin previously so figuring out that process was an exciting endeavor.
The Hunt, 21" x 40”, watercolor on cradled board. My clients actually had the chance to see a lioness hunt and capture a baby warthog. This scene, along with the bas relief sculptures in the installation, is a depiction of what they saw.
Large landscapes are quite the undertaking in any medium, but in watercolor they present further complications. You can’t simply go back and add the animals later or paint the highlights of water on top of the darker hues. As a result, everything in each landscape had to be meticulously thought out; some of the pieces required up to 40 hours in planning, culling through reference photos and sketching out potential compositions. The results, though, are quite striking and vibrant.
Victoria Falls, 24" x 30”, watercolor on cradled board. For this particular piece, my client wanted to be able to “feel” the mist from the falls as they experienced it.
From start to finish, this special Africa project was an exciting journey. I always enjoy pushing my boundaries as an artist, especially when it comes to making someone’s memories into fine art.
If you want to make a special memory out of your vacation, please contact me.
This collection is a result of my participation in an ‘Alphabet Challenge’ with a number of fellow artists. The challenge was to create a painting every day for 26 consecutive days, each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet in alphabetical order. At the end of each day, we shared our effort on social media for the group to enjoy. In addition to being a stretch for me as an artist (multilayered watercolor can be a slow medium requiring patience), it was also an opportunity to paint blooms that I hadn’t painted in the past and in some cases hadn’t even heard of prior to the exercise.
Following a tradition of artists that have sought ways to push each other creatively, I, along with a fellow group of artists, chose the theme of the greater Rocky Mountain ecosystem to challenge each other to create a new piece of art within that theme every day for 15 days. Although we were spread widely across the country, we came together using social media. Daily, a story emerged though the eyes of four innovative minds and the project became a springboard for creativity. The resulting collection of paintings grew into a rich collaborative story that allowed the art collector to share in the spirit of this unique experience. After the initial 15 day period, I continued to create three full sets of paintings from this theme.
Home on the Range was the third theme for this creative challenge among artists. This time we encouraged one another to create a new piece of art depicting flora, fauna and landscapes from the Heartland of our country. A painting every day for 30 days, these pieces are the resulting collection.
This collection represents a living art form. Since most of my botanical art is inspired from my gardens in both Arizona and California, I thought this unique presentation would allow me to share not only my artwork, but the inspiration as well. Live succulent plants harvested from my garden were housed in ceramic pots interspersed with paintings from my gardening exploits. Several of these collections were completed over the course of many months and in some cases, where clients were green-thumb-challenged or lived somewhere else part of the year, they requested that artificial succulents be substituted for the genuine specimens.