Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stages of Life -- My First Commission in Progress

I'm getting a little nervous about my commission. I just can't believe that someone hired me to create art to display in a public place. Especially since they only saw my work briefly. And they gave me a deposit upfront so I really need to create something they like. I'm trying to reassure myself that I am working in the same style they saw and immediately wanted. I'm asking a reasonable, perhaps even low, price. And I'm working hard to create the quilts in a quickly as I can. But of course, those nagging doubt never leave for long. What if they don't like what I created. What if it isn't what they were envisioning? What if they are frustrated that I'm taking too long? What if they decide what I created isn't worth the price I am asking? What if? What if? What if? Okay, calm down -- it will be fine. I know. I know. I know. I'm sure every artist has been here and I'm not alone. But I will be happy when I'm finished, I know they like them, and I'm passed this first test!
I've tried my best to find time to work. The family, and now a cold, don't seem to be helping a lot, but I'm happy with the progress I'm making. These are just some rough layouts as I determine the exact direction I want to go. One major struggle is finding flat space, out of reach of the dog and children, to lay everything out. With the fabric paper appliques and various embellishments everything needs to be on a table, not a vertical design wall. My crowded 10'x12' art room isn't quite designed to hold 4 24"x30" quilts and still be able to move and work. I brought in an extra piece of wood from my husband's shop to expand the table. It's a couple inches short of fitting two quilts but I'm making do. The others are draped over the ironing board for the moment, but that is going to need to change. Plus I can't really move the first two without everything shuffling. Planning ahead would probably have helped, but to late now. Another area to stretch my creativity, right.

Above is my youthful energy and sweetness. I'm not sure how I am going to ground the circles. Are they lollipops? Flowers? Balloons? I'm still working out the ideas. I did a little experiment with white thread. I'm not sure what I think about it. It seems a little messier than the other quilts I have done using black or gold thread. It might be the combination of edging the circles in white and the additional white thread lines. I also don't know if the lines are strong enough. Nest will be to experiment with various ribbons.

Below is my idea for representing adulthood -- busy, busy, busy! I don't know if every one's life feels as out of control as mine, but my life feels like a crazy attempt to keep everything from flying out of control. And of course, picking up those things that seem to have crash landed. I have curly wire attached to each of the circles. I need to work on the placement of everything, but I do like the energy.

My third quilt is about the struggles of life and how something like cancer can be all encompassing. I want to also show hope in the middle of life's storms. The colors are much darker than I'm used to working with. I don't want it to be depressing. I don't know if I need to add a bit more lighter, but muted color to tie everything together and keep the black from winning.

The final quilt hasn't made it past the background stage. My thought is for it to be about overcoming it all. I'm planning on adding beading and lots of sparkle.

I would love any feedback! Thanks!


Carol said...

I'm not an artist, but I've commissioned work from one. Her work speaks to me and is more than she knows. I'm sure as you enter more into the project, you will forget yourself and your joy will remain. Everything you are will be part of the work, so don't try to be what you have yet to become--just continue to be willing. So my feedback is to trust and not look outward.

susan said...

I've not made any commissioned art, but I do think that as I look at the one that mentioned hope, that your circles are a hopeful color amidst the difficulty represented in the background. I can't wait to see what you do next. I enjoy your art!

Deborah Boschert said...

You are so right about all those feelings about doing a commission. I have felt every single one of those nagging questions. You expressed it just perfectly. It's looking wonderful! So, you should put those anxieties out of your mind. (Easier said than done, I know.)

Nikki said...

Thank you everyone for the encouraging words. I emailed pictures yesterday to the interior designer for the doctor who is commissioning the work. Hopefully I will hear back soon that they happy and I can get to work sewing everything down. Luckily I'm out of the house today so I don't need to sit around waiting anxiously.

Paul Smith said...

Your publishing is really great! I like your creative ideas! By the way, I am so busy now. I want someone to write my paper in Computer Science. I'm looking for the person who will be able to do it!