The journey of a commission piece

The journey of a commission piece

For the last few months I have been gradually working away on a couple of fairly large commissions. I have just completed one of them, so I thought I would share the process with you.

The commission is a 60 x 90 cm canvas and is a wave painting specifically set at Whitesands Beach with St. Davids head in the background.

I began by gathering a range of photographic reference material along with sketches and acrylic colour studies:

Once I was happy with the composition I began roughing out the basic shapes and colours. I start this by breaking it down into large main areas of colour, ie, the sky, the headland, the translucent part of the wave and the darker sea areas. I then gradually break it down further by adding shadow and highlight areas to start to imply form and volume.

As work progressed I added more and more nuances of colour and tonal value, building depth with transparent layers and employing lots of different oil painting techniques to add interest and detail.

The most fun part (and the most risky!) comes right at the end where I apply spatters of paint by flicking the bristles of a paint laiden brush to create the illusion of salty spray. This technique takes a bit of practice and more than a little bravery to pull off, but it’s very satisfying and gives the result a real sense of energy.

The finished painting will soon be heading off to its new home in Bristol as a special reminder to the owners of fun times here in Pembrokeshire!

If you’d like to find out more about commissioning a painting please visit my Commissions page.


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SA62 6NP

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