Large Commissioned Piece – Time lapse video
Here is a video of me creating one of my biggest pieces of work to date (and the biggest canvas I have ever painted at 1 x 2 metres)!
I was lucky enough to receive this commission from my friend Chris, who had recently had a lovely, light extension at the back of his house, and had a really big white wall that was crying out for some art. My brief “create what you like, I will like whatever you make”! But I needed a little bit more than that, and managed to get a few ideas to base it on, including Chris’ favourite colour green & the feel of running through the woods (he is an ultra runner) in Spring. This was really helpful, as although not an ultra runner, I do long cross country runs so could relate to the feel of being out and running through nature.
How I went about creating the piece
The way I work is to get into the zone and to tap into how I am feeling, and paint or draw from that place. The less I think about something before or during, the better, because I find that having a concrete idea of what to create will a) stifle that creative flow, and b) mean that I am never happy with the end result as it won’t look like what it is my head.
I had been given the commission a good 6 or 7 weeks before I got to start it (I had my open studio exhibition in between, had to source and order the enormous canvas, and then needed a time I could set this up in my studio and actually work on it when I wasn’t running any art classes). So it was really hard not to think about it as I was excited about producing it.
The only real thinking I did was to focus on the colours I wanted to use ahead of time, and to make sure I had enough of them. Then on the morning I set up the canvas, got out the paints, decided to start with dark colours and add the lighter greens later, and went for it – with no plotting out on the canvas first. It was just a little bit daunting when working on this scale (and on a posh expensive canvas). I knew the faster I could work the more expressive and free the piece would be, and it took me just under 2 hours working non-stop to complete. It’s interesting, because sometimes I feel that saying how long it takes to complete doesn’t do it justice, because actually it has taken me 6 years to build up my creative ability and way of working so that I am able to do something like this.
Chris’ wife Jenny asked me if at any point I was worried that it was going wrong, and the bit that was most daunting was adding the lighter greens on top of the darker ones, as the contrast in colours meant that anything that I wasn’t happy with would have been quite clearly highlighted, and I would have had to let it dry and then work into it some more, which I don’t like to do. Also, I didn’t really get a sense of how it looked as a whole until my husband Dan (who also helped me do this timelapse video!) took a photo of it and I could get the distance from it I needed.
What I find interesting is that when I first produce a piece of work, I’m really attached to it for a while. Because they are an expression of my emotions, it is like having myself reflected back in a different way – I’m quite curious about them, and they have a lot of energy to them – they aren’t just a picture to me. It is only when I’ve produced more work that I can let go enough of the work to sell it. I don’t feel like I had quite enough time to sit with this piece, but at least I can go and visit it in situ very soon – and anyway, there wasn’t really anywhere suitable to store it – it’s massive!
Here is what Chris had to say about his commissioned piece:
“So glad I decided to ask our friend Jane to produce this for us. It’s the first time I’ve ever commissioned something and I have to say I am really chuffed. It’s the first time Jane has done a commission for a friend and to ask her to work on this scale and with the minimal guidance I gave her it would have been a challenge. I think she nailed it! Really love it. I hope many others get this experience of having something produced specifically for you and your space.”
Would you like to commission me to make some work?
Please contact me if you are thinking you would like to commission a piece of my work. I like to work on commissions that have a element of freedom to them, starting loosely with a colour, medium and size you would like and perhaps a place, person, memory, piece of music or experience you would like to capture.