This is the story of the birth of a painting.
A while ago, a great friend of mine approached me about a possible opportunity.
She works for a large business in Portland that is part of the Greater Portland Postal Customer Council.
Now - I do not pretend to understand exactly what that means, but trust me - it is important to this story :)
Her company is one of the largest customers of the US Postal service in our area.
Their company also participates in a campaign every year with this organization called
"Bridging the Future Together".
For this campaign, they pick a local artist to produce a painting depicting one of Portland, OR's bridges.
Afterall - we are not just known as "The City of Roses",
but also as "Bridgetown" and The City of Bridges" because of all of the bridges -
12 major bridges in all!
Fast forward a few months - and I am asked to create this years bridge painting.
I am excited.
I am flattered and I am humbled.
I go downtown and take photos of Portland's steel bridge.
Just like a "real" artist.
I come home and stare at the photos.
And then I panic!
I mean - upset stomach, can't sleep panic.
I am NOT a landscapey-scene painter.
I am whimsical and unrealistic and playful.
I am NOT a realistic painter.
Bridges are structural and gray and black and steel . . .
After a serious bout of "self-talk" and more encouragement from my friend, I get started.
I blow up one of the photos - I use graphite paper and trace the image.
And I start painting.
I take a few liberties but not many.
And this is what I came up with . . .
|Version 1 - blurry image (sorry)|
Hmmm - it's ok. Barely.
I show it to my husband - hoping for words of encouragement.
But instead of glowing praises, he says - "I thought it was supposed to be of the bridge. It's a painting of a tree with a bridge in the background."
I am hurt and offended -
and then I am honest and admit - "I do not like it and I am not proud."
Concept - bring the bridge forward.
More "whimsy" in the water.
Oh - and I went downtown and took more photos from a different view point.
I finish and stare at it.
I show it to the family.
"Hmmm - nice".
Um - not the response I was going for.
But then - I'm not loving it either - WHY?
I call my friend. I need an honest and brutal opinion.
|Seriously - what is with the blurry images? Anyway - version 2.|
She is honest with me and says . . .
"It's not you. It looks like you are trying to paint in someone elses style. Be YOU. If we wanted a painting like all the others we would not have asked you. We want it in your style."
I thank her for the reality check.
I take a deep breath and decide that I really don't care what anyone else thinks.
This time I AMgoing to do it in MY style.
I throw away the graphite paper.
I decide I really don't care about scale and structure or any of those cold details.
I want my painting to be warm and bright and full of whimsy.
So here it is . . .the final version: