Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Baby and Texas Pearl - A Re-Do

 "Baby and Texas Pearl"  (pastel, 12x12 inches) private collection

Have you ever fantasized about being able to get a hold of an old, unsatisfactory commissioned work and completely re-doing it? Most of the time this is just not possible. For one thing, aside from the delicate strategy of getting the old work back from the client, as professional artists we tend to be occupied with current work or looking ahead to what's next; most of us would like to leave all the old work behind as quickly as possible, or at most, use it only as a guidepost to see how far we've come! And from a business standpoint, one simply doesn't want the client to have any hint of an artist's discomfort with their own work. Every piece we do is our very best, right?!

Well, I happen to have a truly wonderful and unique client who is quite an artist herself - with interiors. She has decorated all her homes throughout her life, and this last one in Fredericksburg TX has been in a magazine - she's that talented! She first purchased from me two large canvas prints and a mid-size painting before commissioning a portrait of her first cow and calf several years ago.

Her photo (typical of most client photos) left much to be desired. All I had to work from was the sweetness of the pose and the little hint of early morning light coming in from the left.

photo - original
At her request, I evened up the horns and ears of the mama (who's name was "Baby" - the baby was "Texas Pearl"!) .
original painting, 8x10 inches (now available!)
 But my weakness at that point in my career was that when working from a client photo, my habit was to go into "copy" mode. Though I tried to lighten up the background and add the vibrant colors that I was known for, I completely missed it on the flower color (She had first given me only a paper print of the photo - which had printed much bluer in the flowers) and by keeping the background fairly dark I ended up with a painting that really didn't match the look of any of the other pieces she had of mine. She went on to commission her donkey and a couple other small pieces, which all had my signature light, bright colors.

Whenever I visited her this painting stuck out like a sore thumb!

Finally, as we were discussing her favorite subject - her ongoing decorating of her home - and since by then we knew each other much better - we both came to the unanimous agreement that this painting of Baby and Pearl needed a serious upgrade!

Intending to move the new painting to a different position, we settled on a 12x12 size. My first step was to get the original digital photo file, and to clarify the flower color, which turned out to be quite a bit more fuchsia! I then set out in Photoshop to make adjustments to the photo, adding a bit to the top of Baby's head to fit the square, and really lightening up the background to give more of a daylight feel. I must admit I was surprised I was able to get so much color out of that darkness. Photoshop is fun!

photo - adjusted

Voila! I will deliver the new painting this weekend on my way through Fredericksburg to Lubbock.

Thanks for watching, and please share!


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