Skies, Boats, and Stressful Situations

Shearwater, 18 x 24″, Acrylic on Canvas


First of all, let me say that I am not complaining about getting a commission. I am grateful to have the work. However, I do wish that the client in question had not waited until the month before his wedding to ask me to paint a boat for a gift to his host. I’m still a little shocked that I managed to complete the painting on deadline – less than six weeks after meeting to discuss the project.

This was my first time painting a boat, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have taken the project on if the client had not come to me with a sufficient budget. In addition to the many technical things I learned creating this piece, I realized that it is time to stop dragging my feet and put together a price list and commission contract for my work. I already knew this of course, and even started doing the research over a year ago, but haven’t actually written anything that can be used as a contract.

The boat itself was the last thing I painted, being in the foreground and the least interesting part of the painting. I don’t feel like it is finished to the degree that it should be, but I ran out of time and the client loved it, so maybe I’m still struggling with overworking my art. I spent almost thirty hours working on this in mostly two hour blocks, but there were a lot of days where I worked on details in a short amount of time to make sure I stayed on schedule.

I enjoyed the clouds the most, although I think I could have been a little less obsessed about that portion of the painting. The island in the middle ground was much more challenging than expected, and the water not as complicated. All in all, I’m happy with the painting. It looks great on the wall from a distance. My picky nature only starts finding fault with the boat as I get closer.

I’m certain I will start working some of the elements from this painting, and the things I learned, into future paintings with birds after the new year. I think this painting would have been much more successful if I had had the time to work in oils.

Frances is a stay-at-home mom, community volunteer, and artist who loves all things old, living in the country and keeping chickens.


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