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     How do you go about doing it?  Sometimes it is easy because you have a photo to work from such as I have had for some of my commissions.   Two were of horses, one of which had a rider.  Another commission was of a farmstead in KY where the home no longer exists.  I had seen the property, but had to work mostly from recollections of the person requesting the painting as to what the house looked like and where the house, barn, and outbuildings were located.  That was more difficult.

     Sometimes, the artist is just given colors to work from.  "I want a painting that has black and red in it".  OK, where do we go with that??  This is when it helps to either know the person and theirs likes/ dislikes or you need to ask a lot of questions.  This happened to me and this was the actual request.  Sometimes the person says "Oh just do whatever you want,  I'm sure I will like it!"  That ALWAYS makes me uncomfortable!  You can bet they have an idea of what they want in their head, and we have the job of finding out that that idea is.  So it requires sitting down and having a conversation with them and gleaning their thoughts and maybe even just reading their mind in the end.  We have to make them feel comfortable sharing that idea, and it usually takes "pumping them up" a little.  Compliment them and their ideas, encourage them to talk about themselves, their likes and dislikes, etc.  Are they a down home person, a traveler, a big-city type?  Look around their home and take notice of their style choices, including the colors they pick.  How they dress, books they may have on the shelf.  All of these can be clues that tell a lot about them and helps you know what to paint for them.

    For example, during the hurricane, IRMA, we stayed at a friend's home for the duration of the storm as our home was in an evacuation zone.  I wanted to give them a small painting as a "thank you" gift.  I took notice of their style and color choices their home in order to know what to offer them.  I narrowed the choices to two before I made the offer.  They liked both, made their choice, and thanked me for the gift.  It was easy for both parties that way.  I say this because taking note of the "buyers" tastes can make for MUCH easier decisions for you and for them, and can avoid disappointment in the end.

   People enjoy talking about themselves once they get started. So even if they tend to be shy just keep coaxing gently by questions, etc, even a glass of wine? (haha) and in the end you will both be happy with the resulting painting.

   Below I have a photo of my latest commission, and yes, I was just given the colors of black and red!  Fortunately I know this lady and she is a very classy and vivacious person.  So it was an easy choice for me to do a "dancer in red" on a black canvas! I think it turned out very nicely and she is going to love it!  I haven't given it to her yet, but I know she will!  ( I will give you an update on her comments when she receives it in the mail, OK? )  Thanks for looking and Enjoy!

 Note:  Using a black canvas makes the red much more dramatic than it would have been on a white or even a tinted canvas as you can see here.
12 X 16
Acrylic on black canvas


     On another note, I sold a painting to a lady I have only met online.  She has been following me through Facebook and just bought the painting below.  When she received it she sent me a really nice note of thanks.  I asked if I could use her comments in my portfolio and she said "of course!" so here is is:

    " Dara...the painting arrived today... oh my gosh, what can I say, it is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!  Your paintings look so great on Facebook but to get one in person and to see it up close it is just unbelievable!  The vibrant colors and the detail in the picture and how the black frame sets the whole picture off!  Thanks so much!  I LOVE IT!!"

        Can you see why these comments add to your portfolio?  This is the painting she purchased.
                                 Remember, photos are never as good as the actual painting.
Orsono Volcano, Puerta Veras, Chile'
The National Symbol of Chile'
9 x 12




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