September 4, 2015

Oil Sketch #2 for the Dahlia Commission

Dahlia Sketch from the front -- 16 x 20 Oil on Gallery-wrapped canvas
 This is the second of the Dahlia oil sketches I created as part the process for my last commission. But because I wanted to focus on the large commission, as you can tell (by comparing the sketch to the left to the painting below),  I decided to put aside this piece until now.  Creating the piece wasn't a waste of time --even at this stage of its development, the work helped my client realize which version of the image most appealed to her.  

Dahlia of My Heart (commission)
 I'm really happy I kept the unfinished sketch at the studio to inspire me as I worked on the final piece. It also proved very helpful when I met with my client near the end of the painting process.  The meeting's purpose was to find out how she wanted to have me finish the work-- specifically how she wanted me to handle the 1.5" sides of this gallery-wrapped canvas.  

I explained to her that I could go two ways. If she wanted the work to have a more traditional presentation when hung, I could paint the sides black and she'd have the painting framed.  If, however, she wanted to have the work have a modern feel, I'd wrap the image around the sides and put a hanger on the back of the piece.  I explained that if she wanted the latter,  she'd be able to have a beautifully finished piece -- without needing to think about framing. And I was able to use the sketch to show her what I meant.  She quickly decided on the more-modern look; then we went on to talk about why this type of Dahlia held so much meaning for her and her family.  But as we spoke about other things, my eyes kept on returning to this sketch.  I couldn't understand why until it dawned on me.
Dahlia Sketch from the right side 

If you look that this photo of a side view of the sketch, you may be able to spot what it took me a while to notice.  The petals wrapping around the right side of the painting were wrong.  I had truncated them -- as if the flower ended long before it would in real life.  Thus, when viewed from that side, the image felt wrong.  I pointed that out to my client, and assured her that that wouldn't be the case on the finished piece, and it wasn't.

After the Labor Day weekend, I'm going to be working on this oil sketch again.  It will stay a "sketch" so I won't dilute the uniqueness of my client's piece. Because it is a sketch, I'll be able to sell it for about half of what I'd charge normally for a work -- which will be great for some lucky buyer. 

As I said earlier, the piece will cost substantially less than I would a standard work on my site.  If you are interested in buying this piece before I put it up on my gallery on, email me at


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