Made With You in Mind and Heart

Every time I have been commissioned to make a work of art for someone, it has felt like an honour.

A family portrait. A horizontal piece of driftwood onto which the artists has portrayed the four members of a family by focussing only on their eyes. Each pair of eyes tells of the sitter's unique personality and experiences. Brown, blue, green, flesh tones, eyebrows, eyes, character.
The Eyes Have It

The reason why came to me recently, after watching a new-to-me series of programmes on YouTube recently, ‘Home is Where the Art Is.’ It gave me pause for thought on two counts. On the one hand it made me think more deeply about the significance of an artist’s job when fulfilling a commission. On the other it also reminded me of how meaningful symbols still are to us, and how we use them in our lives and in our art.

I know that to talk of feeling honour sounds like an overstatement, but think of this. People commission artwork when someone or something is so meaningful to them that they want to celebrate that person or event in a memorable way. That portrait they want is of someone who plays, or has played, a very important part in their life.It might be a parent or child, a grandparent or godparent. It might even be a pet. The anniversary they wish to mark is deeply symbolic; the crisis they have just overcome has been life-changing; the place they want memorialised holds deep meaning for them, that motorbike has carried them around the world……The list is as varied as human experience, and the symbols that we attach to these things equally broad in range.

A complex portrait of a motorcycle aficionado. The protagonist is portrayed large in the foreground. He wears a blue T-shirt and is looking downwards, pensively. Behind him are three other elements of the portrait:an image of him wearing hes usual biking jacket, with arms out stretched and a cigarette in the corner of his mount; his beloved motorcycle and a favourite haunt of his in Cyprus, where he frequently motorcycles - an abandoned old orthodox monastery called Sinti.
Postcard From Cyprus

People, animals, places, events, epiphanies, transformations…….Since time immemorial human beings have used art to make our inexpressible feelings visible and tangible - inexpressible because they are so profound that we cannot find the words.

You could say,, then, that an artist tasked with a art commission is performing the sacred duty of bringing the deepest of emotions into physical manifestation.

That is why, whenever I embark on a commission I find myself trembling in awe before my canvas or sheet of paper. That state of trepidation is where I remain until the work has been completed and delivered, received and accepted - hopefully with great joy - by the client.

Actually, I don’t like the word client in this context. It has far too many commercial connotations to describe someone who has opened their heart to another. The person who has asked another person to create a work to embody a deeply felt emotion, and to incorporate symbols that have very personal meaning, has entrusted the artist to bring something very precious into being. This goes way beyond the business of buying and selling.

A successful work of commissioned art, made specifically for someone, can bring that person to tears when it really hits the mark. This is no ordinary sale.

Slightly less stressful for me as an artist, but also deeply satisfying, and equally an honour, is when people buy artworks that I have already created because they want to mark special events - the couple who bought a piece to celebrate an important wedding anniversary; or another couple who bought one of my paintings as a memento of their honeymoon in Cyprus; or the painting that was bought as a wedding gift; and another that was bought as a birthday present; and the lady who bought a series of my lithographs for the bedroom of her new apartment…… among them one that I especially treasured…

A solitary female figure wearing a long white dress and surrounded by a turquoise aura occupies the left part of the canvas. She is bent from the waist, sweeping a few orange-brown leaves up with a twig broom,  and is placed on a plane of yellow ochre that takes up the lower two-thirds of the painting. The upper third is made up of deep viridian green and it is just possible to make out a few charcoal lines suggestive of a humble dwelling through the transparent paint layer. A couple of bright white spots of light in the lower right corner of the image contribute to a feeling that this simple act is a moment in a finely-tuned choreography on stage.
Mindful Moment

So, if there is something coming up that you want to mark in a special way give it some thought. Perhaps there is something in my portfolio that fits the bill perfectly, but if there isn’t, and you think that you would like to have something made especially for the occasion or the person, drop me a line, let me know your budget and we can talk about it. You might be surprised to find that you can afford it…..

P.S. I have small, readily available works ranging in price from €30 upwards, many of them in mounts but unframed, so easily shipped to wherever you are in the world. Alternatively, if you know that a painting or drawing isn’t the right thing to suit your purpose, there is a range of products from mugs to throw cushions available in my Redbubble range here,

61 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Subscribe to Site

Thanks for submitting!