When people ask me to do a still life on commission, there is often a story to go with the painting.

The mementos in this painting illustrate how a still life can be personal, telling?a story about ?an important experience.?This painting is a commission from a gentleman who has a successful engineering career. The props were all important objects from his?childhood. Clearly, he was well on his way to?his future employment?from an early age.
The Way Things Work_1215_site

?The Way Things Work, oil on linen panel, 16"w x 12"h ?SOLD

In such cases, the artist must make every effort to get the details right, and that's not always easy. This was a complicated painting.

Completing this painting taught me something about commissions.

My patron and I met several times before I started the painting. We discussed the composition, which objects to include, which should be given the spotlight. I submitted a drawing or two, and got to work, essentially on a handshake. ?When I delivered the painting, we could both see that the job had turned out to be more complicated than either of us anticipated. For instance, there were at least 11 different fonts,?both alphabetic and ?numeric, and some were inside logos.

Luckily for me, the patron is a wonderful guy. He?paid me well for my efforts.

A still life can be personal, and a commission still life even more so.

I know going in that I will want to honor the personal aspect of the commission, and that complex objects may require a lot of extra attention. I'll keep that in mind for the future, so that both I and my patron will know what to expect.


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