Thursday, 26 June 2014


Even though I'm a Fine Arts student I've only ever taken on a couple of commissions. There are a few reasons for this: I struggle with the creative issue of equating my art with monetary value; I find it very difficult to be told what and how to create (some people don't have the ability to execute their own vision and expect artists to be their hands); it's hard to motivate myself to do something that isn't perhaps my taste in subject matter; the pressure to please can be quite intense... All quite 'authentic starving artist' thoughts I know.

My parents, au contraire, are not of the 'authentic starving artist' mindset and encourage me to take on commissions when I'm asked. This particular commission has been in the works for months due to uni, travel etc and the other day I finally finished everything apart from adding my signature (I can't do that until the paint dries). This is an oil portrait of two young children and the first time I've done a painting of this sort. I was also working from one 4x6 photograph of the children so I felt like I was guessing so much of the tone/lighting etc. When I do work on a commission, I try to see it as a chance to learn and perfect techniques - I've only actually been painting for three years so I still feel like such a novice!

The style of this painting is perhaps a little more traditional than my personal work but such is the nature of commissions. One of my current artist loves is Kai Samuels-Davis and although his paint-handling is so much choppier than mine, his work has intensified my recent obsession with flat grey spaces.

I'm a real perfectionist and sometimes I have to tell myself to walk away. There are always bits that no matter what I do I can't get right, bits that I end up having to live with. I've worked into the girl's face, for example, over and over and over again but it's still not quite right. The boy's face, on the other hand took only two sittings to do and I'm happy with it! Art can be fickle.

Well, I apologize if all of the above is a bit of an incoherent ramble for you non-artist readers, but I feel that this blog wouldn't really represent me without the occasional prattle about art.

The 'authentic starving artist', Kitty xx

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