Hey! Thanks for hopping on over here :)
So I do get the question asked from time to time whether or not I enjoy commission work. And my first thought is, "Duh! Of course, silly, it's a guaranteed paycheck! Who doesn't like that?" But I of course don't say that, wink wink. But seriously, what a relief in a life that operates on a consistently inconsistent budget! That's not the only reason, or even the main reason, that I enjoy doing them though. I love being asked to create other people's ideas because they challenge me in a whole new way and I always learn the lesson to get over my fear, relax, slow down, tune into the natural world, allow the signs to reveal themselves and truly enjoy the process. And that's a lesson that helps me live a fuller, happier life in general.
Baby name paintings are something I am commissioned to do when new babies are born into families. It's a way to celebrate their arrival and something original, just for them, to hang in their room for decades to come. This particular client has asked me to create a new name painting for each new grand baby, this is their third, and this one was extra special incorporating the coolest palindrome there ever was, ANNA! This is the story about HOW it came to life.
My client asked me to incorporate the name Anna of course and some garden flowers. The difference between the work I come up with on my own and commission work is that I have to wait for the ideas to develop in commission work. This can take some patience and some trust that the clues will show up. When I'm asked to do a particular project, my mind doesn't instantly see it. The visual cues come in their own time.
My sister came to visit me here in St Pete about a week after this commission arrived. I took her to our Saturday Morning Market where we both crossed the thicket of wanderers to ogle a flower neither of us knew the name of but that looked to us like a mini Peony, our favorite flower that blossoms in June (the month I came into this world) in Vermont where we're from. It's grand blossoms bloom in either white, pink or magenta and offer the most delicately sweet aroma. Like roses, but softer. Their flowers get so heavy with petals that their stems bend and they reach down to kiss the earth. We called these ones "baby peonies" for lack of a name and adored their miniature representation. At that time, my mind wasn't focused on the project, so I didn't make any connections. A few days after my sister left, I set down my mat in the courtyard where I was living and BAM! There was a vibrant green leaf contrasting against the royal blue of the house next door with highlights of lemon yellow and I had my color palette! I went to the hardware store and picked out paint colors so I could mix my paints and match them just so.
There were still a few missing pieces and a blank canvas waiting for me. I was scrolling through Instagram later that week and my friend @hilaryannlovetattoos (you should totally follow her if you aren't already. She's also an amazing artist/illustrator!) had posted a new tattoo she'd recently finished of the same flowers we saw at the market! She revealed their mysterious name: Rananculus, aka Buttercup! That was it! They would be my models. I've been having fun experimenting lately with new greeting card designs and am in love with one text called "Lobster." I free-handed "Anna" to replicate the Lobster font and decided white would stand out best within the color theme. I biked over the market the next Saturday and bought a bouquet of Rananculus to paint by and set home to paint my puzzle, having all my pieces read to go.
This is just one example of HOW the creative process works for me. In my original work, inspiration may strike as a fuller reveal: an image or idea comes to me all at once and I feel compelled to honor and share it by painting it. In commission work, it's like orchestrating the clues that reveal themselves leading up to doing the actual work. The more trust I have that they'll show up, the more they do. When I get stressed, worried or anxious about the process, I can get stuck, projects can take too long or lack luster. If I allow myself to relax and believe that the signs will reveal themselves, they always do and the journey is fun. This isn't a theme limited to creative work in life. It can be applied to absolutely everything. The more we trust, the more faith we have that things are meant to work out for us, and that life is meant to feel good, the more it does. Allowing isn't necessarily our traditional approach to life. We're used to doing to get things done. Have you ever noticed what a bunch of "doers" we are?! And "doing" aka forcing or rushing for the sake of finishing a task is the antithesis of creativity. We miss all the good stuff along the way because we're too busy focusing on the prize or the goal. We get used to worrying about it along the way. And it takes work and desire to change to let go of what we're used to. But it is certainly more rewarding.
If you're curious to learn more about these ideas or want to share your thoughts, feel free message me. Let's connect! I love hearing your thoughts!!! Or sign up for my email newsletter at the bottom of this page to stay involved in the journey.
If you're interested in starting a commission project of your own, most certainly reach out to me! I love collaborating to create your vision.
Thank you for reading; may your day be filled with beauty, love and laughter.