Sunday, 10 August 2014

My First Commissions!

I'm afraid I've let my blogging slip a bit. I've had a busy and interesting time. I've completed a couple of commissions - my first ones - and that has been a great new experience for me.

One of my commissions was to do a painting of the Mar Lodge near Braemar. It was fun to go on a trip to Braemar and do some sketches in situ.  I first did a sketch looking down the valley towards the Mar Lodge, but sketching was curtailed by the onset of rain. Look at the raindrops on the paper!
So we carried on to get much closer and walked over the bridge to the Lodge. I was rather stunned by the building - almost overcome with the challenge it presented - it's the most amazing pink granite concoction. We got a quick tour round the interior and it is rather fantastic. Another National Trust treasure. Anyway, I opted to make a detailed pencil sketch of one of the wings and took a few photographs. The detailing of the roof and the dormers particularly appealed to me. And that tree.

 Back in the studio I sketched out a few ideas. I found it a little difficult, but difficult is good, I think; confronting a challenge is a good thing artistically. I was trying to find an artistic treatment which conveyed that fairy-tale look of the building without resulting in an architectural drawing. I came up wth three views.
Mar Lodge Study 1

Mar Lodge Study 2

Mar Lodge Study 3
 I also did a study of the longer view looking down the valley with the river and the larch tree in the foreground. I quite like this view, but the Mar Lodge does not figure too prominently in it.
Dee Valley Study

I was a little unsure of what kind of view was wanted.  In the end a photo provided an idea for a better treatment with a bit more drama and I combined this with the details I had noted in my pencil sketch. So the painting has turned out like this. Not so much a fairy-tale, more of a real-life drama isn't it?


The other commission was for a view at Kishorn. Again I approached this in the same way.
I already had sketches and produced this study.
Loch Kishorn Study 1
However, this did not quite fit the bill, so I went back and did a few new sketches and produced a couple of new colour studies.
Loch Kishorn Study 2


Loch Kishorn Study 3

I decided to take both of these forward to the next stage, so the finished paintings ended up like this.


In the end, that view of Loch Kishorn with the Bealach in the background won the day - I'm not surprised, it's such a dramatic view!

I did enjoy doing these commissions. They provided a clear focus and I knew I just had to get them done - no changing my mind or leaving them unfinished etc. And I did enjoy speaking to people about the work and what they wanted and why they wanted it etc. However, now that I've finished them I'm back to thinking 'What to do next?'  Well, I think it's back to working and blogging, and maybe I need to arrange other little forays to new places for some intensive study to inspire me. More commissions? Bring it on!

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