In the Parts Unknown
Finding comfort in uncomfortable places
Lately, I've had a lot of commissioned works in the pipeline and although they do make me a little nervous at the beginning, I'm finding the process of working more collaborative to be really fulfilling. So often, I have ideas of pieces I'd like to make that just roll around in my mind and never make it to the canvas. But, when I have a commission, there's someone waiting for the piece to be finished and I know there's a naked wall somewhere just waiting for my work. Having someone on the receiving end of my work not only pushes me do complete the project, but it drives to make sure the work is at a higher standard(I guess the whole "gym-buddy" logic holds for art production, too).
Commissions also nudged me to grow, even when it feels a little uncomfortable. Typically, there are two ways I approach commission -- I have the client either provide me with a specific color palette, or I have them give me a place they'd like to me to recreate (often it's a place with sentimental value). When it's a specific color palette provided, it's usually something outside of my normal color range of blues, greens, and neutrals. When I first start working on the piece I actually find it sort of terrifying and end up starting the base in a neutral so I know where I am in the world. Then, slowly but surly, I remind myself that the piece is for someone else and that begins to free me up to explore different techniques, colors, and textures than I find myself drawn to. When the client provides a place as inspiration, I usually dive into research, trying to take in as much of the imagery as I can dig up online, until it's really sunk into my subconsious. Then, I sort of follow my gut. I'll occassionally look at an image as I'm painting to make sure the tones are right, but on the whole it's drawn from the research I did earlier and it expresses itself in pretty surprising ways.
All of this is to say, that I find myself growing most in times of discomfort. Not pain, but discomfort--being vulnerable and stepping into the parts unknown. This has held true not only for my art, but in all of my creative endeavous. I'm beginning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and okay with not knowing it all.
Until next time,
P.s. Thank you to everyone who's commissioned pieces from me and continued to support my art practice. I truly appreciate it and have loved making each and every piece.