Amanda Gorman portrait commission
If you have ever thought about having a painting commissioned, but didn't know where to start, you are not alone! Most people have no idea where to start, and so a great idea for an original piece of art fizzles out before it has a chance to begin.
Commissions are custom paintings that can be done for a collector of just about anything they want. I have painted pets, houses, portraits, and landscapes, but any subject matter can work. I have painted childhood homes, departed beloved pets, bridal portraits, flowers, travel photos, children and grandchildren, and custom work for a specific room and/or color scheme. Commissioned work is limited only by your imagination.
Here are a couple of things you need to do to have a successful commission completed for your space:
1: Find a photo with good lighting and clear images. It is difficult for an artist to open closed eyes or combine two photos, so start with a quality photograph the artist can work with and communicate clearly what you want- colors, mood, size, etc.
2. Communicate your wants with the artist with email or a phone call and look at the artists other work to make sure their style of work is what you want. Ask for progress photos, timelines, payment, etc. so that everyone is on the same page.
If you are interested in commissioning a painting of any kind from me, I have a specific form on my website for you to fill out to get started. Click here- Commissioned Artwork - to begin the process of finding the perfect customized painting for you . I would be honored to paint something for you.
As a watercolor painter, I am so thankful to live in the era of giclée printing.
Giclée printing conveys the luminosity and brilliance that represents the watercolor painting better than any other reproduction technique available. When printed on heavy watercolor paper, these reproductions rival original artwork in beauty and detail.
Giclée (pronounced zhee-clay) is a term created in the early 1990's to refer to digitally-reproduced fine art print and is based on the French verb “gicler” which means to squirt or spray a liquid, which is how the ink from the powerful inkjet printer is applied. Giclée has since then come to mean any high resolution inkjet print produced on large format printers from a digitally generated file. These printers use fade-resistant, archival inks with multiple variations of each color which increases the resolution and color accuracy and allows for more delicate color and value transitions.
Prominent art museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Guggenheim, Smithsonian Institute, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have hosted exhibitions featuring fine art giclée prints.
So that's what a giclée fine art print is. What you get when you buy a giclée print is artwork that is difficult to discern from the original, for a lot less money. It's a great way to get fine art into your hands and into your spaces, and stay within your budget.
To see a selection of my giclée prints, visit prints .
I don't know about you, but it was slow going this week and I had a couple of difficult days trying to paint something I wasn't completely frustrated with. After the past couple of frozen weeks, I was back in my thawed out studio and started painting.. and nothing happened.
The landscapes I was working on this particular day were Blah with a capital B. I had a nice little stack of paintings I was tempted to put in the fire pit.
The next day, we were talking about it and Gary asked a great question - had I been painting photos I really loved. I had not. Actually I had been working on several photos in my "pile" that I had at one time thought would make good paintings, but I was not in love with any of them.
I went back to my studio, and started working on one I really wanted to paint. A road out in New Mexico that is in the middle of sagebrush and always makes me think of Georgia O'Keefe- she used to take off in her model A across the desert sage in hopes of finding the perfect spot in which to paint. Georgia is one of my favorite artists because of her fortitude in finding what she loved, what spoke to her heart and soul. She lived in New York and painted in beautiful Lake George but it wasn't until she came to know the desert in New Mexico that she fell completely in love with a landscape. A place that sustained her creativity for decades.
It made me think again about what the difference is in those days where nothing happens, and the days where everything has a little magic in it. How do you find what you love when you aren't feeling inspired? How do you sustain the creative flow? Some of it may be the "muse" at work, but there are a few things we can control, so here are my tips for getting unblocked and back to painting:
1. Set the mood- Get your best "painting music" playing, have your water/tea/coffee at the ready, and definitely give yourself the benefit of working during your most creative/productive time of day.
For me this looks like 6am with my coffee and spotify "art" playlist.
2. Take a walk- I need a walk periodically throughout the day to give my back a break, one, and to clear my head and work through what isn't working in my painting. Somehow getting out and breathing in a change of scenery is transformative in how I see things when I return to my studio.
3. Have an inspiration board- a physical board works best for me. On it I put up my best paintings- Photos that I want to paint, ideas, quotes and verses that inspire me. I also put up words that resonate with my work. Terms that describe the heart of what I want to convey in my work. "whimsical", "buoyant", "beautiful", "sacred" are some of mine.
4. Call a friend- Ask someone, maybe an artist friend- who understands the struggle- how they see your work, what it says to them, words that describe it. This is invaluable. It's powerful to hear from others how your work speaks to them, and may just give you the boost you need to get through your block.
So I painted "Georgia's road" - my little reminder to be true to myself- and the magic happened. At least magic in my mind, and whether it's in my mind or comes across in the painting, I don't always know, but I am satisfied either way.
I love what I do. There is nothing else I would rather spend my day doing than painting. It satisfies me on so many different levels that I don't think anything else in this world could substitute for it.
So as it is in painting, often it is in life, true satisfaction doesn't come until it aligns with our passion, our spark- that thing that makes us feel like a kid again. Georgia understood that sometimes it just takes a change of scenery, a little fresh air, and a new direction to find it.
You know, I usually speak to women and from a woman's point of view, but today I would like to give a quick shout out to those men who reach out to me to give a meaningful, thoughtful gift to their wives.
In a time where it's easier than ever to buy something made in a factory from China, these husbands and fathers go the extra distance to seek out something unique and special for their partners in life. They message me with ideas, photos, verses or quotes they would like integrated into the paintings they are giving their spouse. I have been touched and inspired by these husbands, fathers and sons who go the extra mile to show their loved ones how much they care with a piece of original art or print. Makes my day!
If you are interested in original paintings, don't be hindered by what you don't know. I love working with people to give them that special piece that is one of a kind. There are options available for everyone. It's why I do what I do. Message me anytime!
I have invited you all along on this 31 day journey of exploring my painting this January, which it is both invigorating and scary at times because creating daily art is not always a given. It is an experience, a way to look inward and learn how the mind, soul and heart come together to create
Creativity can be mercurial, and our access to it sometimes has a life of it's own. The process of creating ebbs and flows, excites, invigorates, frustrates and exhausts. But most of all, it teaches us about the paradoxes involved in creating; being disciplined in order to seize an inspired moment, deconstructing old ways in order to grow new constructs, using ritual to let go of bad habits, or following the muse as you problem solve within certain constraints. Our job as an artist is to listen for it, coax it, and learn the lessons it teaches.
Sometimes we have to clear space for it, both literally and figuratively. When I started my first 31 days of painting in 2017, it I was at a point of needing a vast and thorough clearing out and cleaning up somewhere between Marie Kondo and Hoarders . Not just the space around me, but my mind and spirit were in need of it.
Like many women, I was at a place in 2017 where after doing the all. the. things. at a one time, taking care of everyone else and quite desperately trying to keep everything balanced, I was no longer in tune with my path, my creativity, or my needs.
I had been putting myself last on the list and knew I was ready to purge- getting rid of excess, changing, or rebuilding parts of my life from the ground up. I badly needed to re-evaluate and prioritize that which I valued and loved- and I needed to put myself at the top of the list.
So maybe it wasn't a surprise that a magical thing happened during the total eclipse of 2017.
I had been teaching classes at Painting with a Twist, ala Bob Ross style, for a few months. The day of the eclipse, artist and teacher Denise Hopkins https://denisehopkinsfineart.com/ flew in from New Orleans, to fine tune our methods, motivate and problem solve. I remember her enthusiasm and spark- her "can do" attitude, She spoke about taking up space in our lives; and communicating that with our bodies as we taught a class- standing tall, feet apart, palms upward, a sort of "wag the dog" approach that empowers our minds and bodies while bypassing fear and insecurity.
When the eclipse happened, she gathered with us in the eerily lit parking lot with our groovy eclipse glasses as we all experienced the awe of watching celestial bodies assert very plainly our tiny place in the universe. I later read about the spiritual meaning of a solar eclipse -
.." a time to focus on internal change, our most personal desires, and goals. The sun represents the personal significance of our desires and provokes changes that assist us in moving the unneeded from our path to help us reach and achieve our dreams."
The day was indeed strange and powerful that stayed with me as I traversed the next year.
I was inspired and kept up with Denise where I found out that she jump started her career in painting by doing 31 paintings in 31 days, way back in 2014. She was starting a group and I jumped on it, intrigued to see if I could do it, eager to bring more discipline and painting into my life. That first 31 days was transformative. I did not finish a painting every day, but the group was so encouraging and nurturing that instead of feeling guilty about it, I would just try again the following day.
In fact, I have done this every year since, and it has truly been one of the most transformative experiences for me as an artist. One of the biggest epiphanies is that I realized that if my painting wasn't "perfect", I didn't want anyone to see it. Denise and the "31ers" group, as we call ourselves, have helped me get over that aspect of being an artist. They have helped me embrace the artist inside and love it instead of shame it. Because we are a group of people simply practicing- practicing painting, writing, photography, organizing, walking, eating healthy- the whole spectrum. If we don't have something wonderful to show, it's okay, if we are stuck, someone can relate and help you through it. The lessons are something I try to carry on through the rest of the year. We could all extend a little more grace for ourselves, and for others. A little goes a long way.
I'm so appreciative of that day in 2017, meeting Denise, and all of the incredible people in the 31 group who have helped me grow artistically and spiritually. It is a nurturing, beautiful group of people and I'm a little sad today that it's ending for the year. But so very thankful to be a part of it.
I am also filled with gratitude that you have come along with me on this journey, following my art, subscribing to my website, encouraging me along the way, buying my paintings, and reading my blogs. It all means more to me than you could know. It allows me to do what I believe I am supposed to do in my life, what I love and wake up excited to do each day.
Portrait of Amanda Gorman- Inauguration 2021
Excerpt from "The Hill We Climb"
When day comes, we step out of the shade Aflame and Unafraid, the new dawn
balloons, as we Free it.
For there was always Light.
If only we're Brave enough to See it.
If only we're Brave enough to Be it.
- Amanda Gorman, youth Poet Laureate
Circle of friends
During this 31 days of painting I am participating in, my motivation waxes and wanes. Add a pandemic and political upheaval to the mix and some days I wonder why I doing this, what the point is, have not felt motivated to paint some days and certainly didn't want to post what I did paint.
At the exact right moment last week, I messaged a friend online and my bad attitude kind of peeked through. I'm not sure I was even very aware of it. But she picked up on it with her intuitive heart and just cheered me up with life affirming words, making me realize I have all of the hope and courage I need, when I step out in faith. Lucky me.
Then yesterday I had a conversation with another friend in which we discussed my art. Now, I am someone who has lots and lots of ideas and creativity, but not always the organization or focus to bring it all together. I have sticky notes everywhere, notebooks of ideas, etc. I have been working on streamlining all of this into my website and making a strategy, but then get overwhelmed. You get the idea.
My friend just absolutely met me where I was, reflected back to me a focused vision of what I want, gave me words of wisdom where I was being negative, and illuminated a pathway where I could see not only the next step, but the next 10 steps I need to take in my art career. Wicked smart and insightful, she gave me clarity, insight and guidance in approaching my work that I had not been able to see. I finished that conversation feeling like the cloud that had taken up residence in my brain had been swept away!
I am so thankful for my community of girlfriends right now. Not being able to have the same conversations with my mom as I used to has left a void and I am forever grateful for the encouragement, support, feedback, inspiration and love of friends. Women have always been the community builders, creators of circles of wisdom, support and encouragement givers, and helpers. We have never needed the invaluable nurturing and affirming of friends more than now.
Girlfriends, I am grateful for you!!!
The Danish term "hygge"(hoo-ga) is a term that describes the nurturing of the senses felt in a place that brings joy to your heart and heals the soul. Beautiful lighting, textures, artwork, comfort and coziness. A place to read, reflect, sip tea and feel completely "home."
But how to truly carve out that space is not always easily done. Just "decorating" a space is not enough. Being hygge in your thinking takes a little more digging, because it is not simply about what the space looks like, it's how it feels, smells, tastes and sounds. True hygge is medicine for our souls. Finding it is an enjoyable, and beautifully rewarding, process.
Here are 5 jumping off points to get you started on creating you sacred, hygge, space:
1. With a notepad and your phone camera, take a walk around your home. Note or take pictures of the things that instantly bring you joy. (Ignore the laundry or unmade bed for now) You may not be aware of these things because you pass by them so often, but what are they? A window with plants? A grouping of candles or your favorite leather chair? Your grandmothers kitsch that no one loves but you? Your flow blue china cup, books, something from your travels, your child's artwork? A color of wall paint that is perfection?
Let go of all preconceived notions of style or decor, and just focus on what makes your heart happy.
2. Take a trip to the art museum and walk around. Go online and visit artist websites and Etsy. Consider original art or economical but museum quality giclée prints. See my selection here: prints (ggwatercolors.com)
What takes your breath away or gives you pause? What colors, styles or subjects grab your attention? Antique shops or estate sales are also good places to search for what you love. Not buying, simply being present and listening to what your heart is attracted to. The point is that you can have the freedom to choose without being targeted by marketing tactics.
3. Ask a friend what they see as your style, then ask yourself if that is truly reflective of what you love or not? My brother and I were in a shop once and he said "this looks like you" I realized that he was right, it was what I loved, but did not have represented in my home. Since that day, I have paid more attention to and been deliberate about creating a home with things that bring me joy. You can make it work if it makes you happy.
4. Make a real live "hygge" board and just write, draw or paste anything and everything that resonates with your soul. Let it be a stream of consciousness. Do you love kittens but don't have one? Find a pillow that feels furry and soft, or find a drawing of a cat. Or long for the beach but live land-locked, maybe shells or a chime or a mosaic of beach glass.
Whatever it is- old forgotten bits of you that you left along the way, things that you love but have not made "space"(not necessarily physical) for in your current living arrangement. Make this visual something you look at often and then edit as you go. Your space will take time. Start small and let it evolve as you go deeper in your discovery.
5. Take time as you dig deeper and find new ways to create your sacred space. Keep an open mind as you do a "treasure hunt" and search for things that give your surroundings calm, hopefulness and mindfulness. Begin to learn how to nurture your soul, find your perfect hygge, and create a space you long to be in.
Good luck and post or send me a photo of your most hygge spaces! To read more on hygge, see - Welcoming the Winter Hygge - ggwatercolors
At the beginning of my 31 days of painting, a new year begins, and then my new year begins, literally. My 50th trip around the biggest light we know.
This year, I ask for light for our souls, a light to guide our country and illumination for how we treat others as we navigate 2021 together.
5.0 is a bit of a jolt, I won't lie. Not at all like 40, or 30. As a woman, it's the end of motherhood literally and figuratively, the kids growing up, and the symbolic end of even the slight thought of another baby, at least until those fabulous grandbabies.(One of which we have already and love)
But 50 is a time for re-evaluating, experimenting, searching inside and finding what it is I want to say to this big old world. I am no longer guided by the fears or anxieties that dogged me in my 20's or 30's. I am no longer tethered by the beloved and sacred activity of full time school kids and familial obligations.
I feel a certain gravitas, simply because of the big, beautiful pile of years and experiences I have had. I am grateful for my life, I am thankful for 50 years to learn, grow, love and become fully myself- filling out my soul, continuing to search the incredibly gift and mystery that is life. And I will take whatever is left for me and ask God to use my life for good.
My painting today is of the big ol' cottonwood tree found on highway 96 in Kansas heading east toward Wichita. The " Lucky Tree", because anyone who lives 100 miles around knows you honk when you drive by for luck. I've driven by her since I was 2. My mom drove by her on the way to the Kansas state fair since she was born, and my grandad drove by her in a horse and buggy as a boy on his way to Wichita. She is very much a part of the fabric of who I am.
She is a 100 year old tree, at least, and has survived Kansas windstorms, ice storms, droughts, tornados, lightening strikes, and even a re-routing of the two lane to four lane highway renovation in the 1990's.
She drinks in the sun as seasons permit, and stores it deep in her bones for the storms. She is strong, resilient, deeply rooted, comforting, and beautiful in the eyes of those who love her. On my 50th birthday, the old girl inspires me greatly.