Sunday, September 10, 2017

Great-Grandma's Chair, Step 1

The Commission Preliminaries

A collector has commissioned me to do a painting of her great-grandmother's chair, including her grandmother's sewing box and a quilt she had made. In our preliminary meeting, we decided to use the stone wall around the fireplace as the background. I took many pictures, but ultimately I knew I had to bring the chair, the sewing box, and the quilt home with me so I could set it up in my studio. We decided that the painting would be a vertical 28 x 20, and we will put a 2" black frame around it. It already has a special corner in her house waiting for the painting.

Usually the set-up takes the most time, with a lot of rearranging and positioning the props just so.  In any painting, the composition is the most important thing, so I wanted everything to flow well, with the light that I had available to me. In a corner of my studio, I placed the chair on a still life box balanced on an old TV table so I could get it at the right height, then draped the quilt over one corner of it. I arranged the sewing basket two ways, as you can see below. The customer chose the second one which is the one that worked better.

The items in the sewing box will be rearranged many times, until I get them exactly the way I want them  My customer is adding her grandmother's New Testament bible as well.  Right now my focus is on the overall composition, and I will deal with the details later. 

This option doesn't work too well, as both the chair and the sewing basket face to the right, and there's no way for the viewer's eye to get back into the painting.

This one works better since the sewing basket faces back into the painting and helps redirect the viewer's eye.

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