Rena – A Commission

It’s October, so let’s look surprised to find me still painting.  Maybe not quite as frantically, but definitely can’t breathe without it.

In addition to painting stuff that I love, I paint commissions. Portraits, landscapes, mashups. You name it, I’ve painted it. Actually…I just re-read that. Don’t name it. I haven’t painted everything…ha. 

I was commissioned to paint this portrait during the last week of September. I put it into my schedule for October 1 and started planning. One of the things I need when painting a person I’ve never met before is lots of photos. Since distance was an issue, I couldn’t take any photos of my own, but the client was good enough to send me ten or twelve in various lights, angles and expressions.  It was an awesome selection to work with. On the plus side, it really gave me a chance to see what my subject looks like from various angles.


I happen to love my new, bright modern style, so I opted to go for that with this painting. The age of the subject was the clincher: modern for the young! The client had no direction to give me in terms of dimensions or style, which is perfectly fine.

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I work very much like a colour-separated printer with this style; layer upon layer of individual colour until I get near the end. Because the white of the canvas was so dominant, I chose to balance it out with black. And then swing over to yellow to balance the black, and then thalo blue (like a greenish navy) to balance the yellow. The whole painting process is about balance.

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Warm, cold, warm, cold colours. And working with them straight out of the tube, no mixing. Until it was time to mix up some bright peaches and magentas.

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And then it was time to swing around and layer and mix colour. The whole process was very zen and it’s a blast watching the painting come to life.

At the end, though, the painting still felt unbalanced so a broke a painting rule and made it work. There is no green anywhere else in the painting but in the background. None. Usually I carry colours through the whole piece so that everything belongs together. But, a style like this needs to pop visually. I used two greens to achieve this, dark and bright-bright.

sm_20151001_211817-1 “Rena”


Acrylic on stretched canvas

Want a painting of your own? Have a person, animal or location you want to celebrate? I live for commissions and bringing joy to my clients. Let’s talk and make something beautiful together.

Have a question about commissions? Check out my FAQ for answers or contact me. Art makes a great gift and a it’s a fun way to be immortal.