I was truly moved by the number of visitors at this summer’s Toronto Outdoor Art Show who were touched by my Birds in Summer series, many of whom asked me about the possibility of creating a painting to feature a subject of their choosing. So I’ve developed a Birds in Summer Commission process designed for those folks who wish to honour and remember a special person in their life.
Today I’m putting the finishing touches on a painting called Dame, which was intended to go to the Toronto show but wasn’t quite ready. Fortunately, she was seen in her unfinished state and claimed by a patron who is an excellent match for the work; I’m thrilled she’ll be going home with her at the end of this week. As I work on each painting, I go through a bonding process and get quite attached. I spend time with the image, telling myself a story about it, and choosing what to leave in, what to remove and what to add. It occurred to me that you might be interested in seeing the original photograph that I print from, how it looks midway at the draft stage, and the final product.
Here we have the original photo – a small one – 3″x 2″. As I sifted through mom’s album, this one caught my eye. It is one of many group scenes of picnicking, swimming and hiking, everyone smiling. My mother looks the classic summer party girl with the handsome fellow in the revealing trunks, with my Father and Aunt to the left and my grandfather off in the distance to the right.
Working on a 16″ x 40″ canvas I’ve brought my mom forward as the central figure in the piece; as with all the Birds in Summer works she stands alone. At this point I was undecided on a defining word and had some other decisions to make.
And here is the finished one-of-a-kind piece, ready to leave my studio and take up residence in someone’s home.
I make these works to express something of myself and to bring pleasure, joy and comfort to others.
Perhaps this has piqued your interest in this series. If so, head on over to my Gallery page to see more and to my Commissions page to see how you can acquire a custom piece designed especially for you.