A collaboration…commissioned surreal painting
I was commissioned by a very special client to do this 2.3m wide surreal painting. As with other projects of this scale and scope, I always refer to them as collaborations because the development of the concept is not a simple affair wherein the artist executes instructions or simply reproduce a painting from a photo or other visual reference; the complete opposite is true.
It is wonderful process of conversation, discussion, exploration, planning and decision making.
It all starts with a few vague ideas, bits of stories, glimpses from dreams, strong emotions or even just thoughts. After a few meetings and discussions, slowly but surely a number of prominent objects and visual ideas emerge.
Armed with a working document full of bits of writing, scribbles, word clouds, ideas, and an array of visual references received from the client, I set to work. First of all, I spend a lot of time writing, analyzing, pondering and dreaming about all the bits of information I received.
Before I touch the actual canvas, I design, layout and paint the entire composition digitally in Krita 4.0.1, using a Wacom Intuos pen.
The draft of the concept is basically a composite image in large part painted purely from imagination but with bits of manipulated photographic material which I then render with digital brushes. I try to create the entire image, as far as possible from scratch with digital brushes because it is a wonderful and fun medium and far faster than real world brushes and mediums. It is a handy skill to master. Pure photo manipulation is too easy.
The main objective of doing this fairly detailed preliminary artwork is to give the client the best possible impression of what might be expected of the final painting. At this stage, we are still free to adjust the placement of objects, contrast, lightness and color balance, similar to post processing in RAW photography. The other huge advantage is that in this process I am not wasting a lot of material and time in creating many drafts until the client is happy. Thus, once the client is totally satisfied, only then, do I shift to my beloved old school medium of traditional oil paints, turps and linseed oil, brushes, palette knives and canvas!
The first objective is to cover the massive canvas as quickly as possible but, with a long strategy in mind. These base layers can never be changed unlike in digital medium.
Many hours later the canvas finally starts to resemble the initial idea we had in mind. Towards the end of the middle phase all shapes and objects are well defined. The final phase, although the longest and most tedious one, is when everything acquires just that right amount of detail and definition to become alive; to make the illusion work. There is only one way to achieve that: small brushes and many hours. The following images show a few more glimpses as the painting progressed.
The story behind Project Pienk Veer (Pink Feather) is a personal one and belongs to the client. Therefore I will not elaborate on the meaning and reasoning behind the concept.
The painting now happily lives in its new home, a beautiful space with wonderful people and hopefully, contributes something very special.
Contact me now to start discussing your unique painting!
Please have a look at other similar collaborations: