Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Artwork I Commissioned

A couple of months ago I became aware of an artist in Tulsa, Oklahoma named Celeste Vaught.  A local Natick painter had linked to Celeste's site from her blog.  When I saw Celeste's painting, Sunset Fence, from her Taos series, and her wonderful Hopper-esque paintings from her Urban series, I was inspired to inquire if she would paint one of my favorite photos from Flickr.

Now some reference images to keep you on track...

Celeste Vaught.  See her site here.
Her painting, "Sunset Fence"

Her painting, "Rainy Night", a Hopper-esque sample from her Urban series:
Baies Vitrées, the Flickr photo I had found:
OK, now that you're up to speed, I hope you see why I chose Celeste to paint the Flickr photo.  I contacted her via e-mail and she said, "That is a lovely photo and of course I'd be happy to paint it if you can secure permission."  That started a 3-week process of securing permission from the Flickr user who lives in Belgium (I believe). 

In the meantime, I worked with Celeste via e-mail and phone about what kind of paint would be best to achieve a rich and moody look.  We decided on acrylic paint (instead of oil or pastels), ampersand board for a smoother look than what stretched canvas would provide, and talked about what I'd like to emphasize or play down, such as darkening and smoothing the field, and emphasizing the berries and sky.  She then sent me a small charcoal drawing that she called a "value sketch" along with stripes of colors she planned to use.
I asked her to adjust the value sketch to make the tree smaller and give more emphasis to the sky.  Within an hour, she sent me a new sketch with notes about the changes we had talked about.
 I then gave her the green light to begin.  A week later, she sent me an e-mail saying the painting was at a stage where she was happy with it and asked if I had any requests for minor adjustments.
I told her I loved it, that she got all the colors and mood right, but that I was distracted by what looked like a broken joint of a branch very prominent against the dark sky.  I asked if she could soften that, and 20 minutes later she sent me a scan of the adjusted painting that she had entitled "Passing Storm", and we called it final. 

She varnished it and sent it to me. I was so pleased with everything that I told Celeste I'd be happy to act as a reference, or provide a testimonial.

Oh, and I had consulted with her on a frame, and she said she liked the one I chose.  Here is a terrible photo of it in it's frame the day it arrived in my office (it's much darker and richer in person).  Colleen and I are trying to find the perfect spot for it in our home, and we're leaning toward redoing our bedroom and using this as the inspiration.

A couple of days ago Celeste e-mailed to ask if I'd provide a testimonial for a new section on her web site, and if she could feature the painting and process.  I was happy to do that, and today that section went live on her Commissions page and Testimonials page.  See her site for those items, as well as available works and past works.  You'll see her style is eclectic -- it's fun to see such a traditional looking painting such as "Passing Storm" with her pen and ink flower paintings.  BTW, "Sunset Fence" is available for $300 framed and shipped.

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