Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two Commissions

Reflections on Pyramid Lake
Oil on Canvas

I had two commissions to do recently, and ended up painting them at the same time. I set up two easels, and shared the same palette - a big glass one on a table top. I just found it easier to to work on both together, as they both needed time for layers to dry so it worked out well.

This first one is for Russell Lindsey, who contacted me after seeing Pyramid Lake painitngs on my blog. He's putting together a touring exhibition of paintings inspired by Pyramid Lake, Nevada. For this he is collecting works by contemporary artists, and antique works he is finding through galleries and the internet. It's a really intriguing project, and I'm flattered to be asked to contribute to something which will serve as a historical documentation of a landscape so precious to certain people.

Russell wrote to me about his thoughts on the title of the exhibition:
"Pyramid Lake Reflections," since it has several levels of meaning: an image given back, like a mirror; a thought or idea formed as a result of meditation; deep consideration of some subject matter. "

Pyramid Lake is part of the Native American Paiute Tribes' Reservation land, and is a located in the stark desert mountains of Nevada. The name of the lake comes from the impressive pyramid shaped tufa formations which protrude out of the water.

I'm pleased with the painting, it evokes a sense of calm I rarely accomplish in my work - despite the fact that I deliberately chose a day when a thunder storm was brewing.

Martin & Vargas
La Vinya - CD Cover

Martin & Vargas are a band I saw in Tahoe recently - they were playing on the sandy shore as the sun went down. They are actually a threesome, two guitars and a cello, playing "a mediterranean blend of Spanish and Flamenco guitar". I couldn't help wanting to sketch them, so I just did a few quick ink drawings whilst they were playing. They came over in their break, and asked me if I'd consider doing a painting for their CD cover.

They had obviously been thinking about it for a long time, and knew exactly what they wanted. I was a bit nervous at first, to be honest - trying to paint what someone else has in their 'minds eye' is notoriously loaded with interpretive land mines. I sketched out a composition based of their ideas, tweaked it a bit, and hoped for the best.....

Fortunately they love it! Yey!