A couple of weeks back, my closest friend Steve had the idea of commissioning me for a painting of his wife and first born child (Declan) as a Mother's Day gift. They're (now, mere days away) from becoming parents of two. He wanted a moment captured before the family grew. Of course I would oblige!
From the creative side, a lot of the work I'd been doing lately was new experiments in structure and line in watercolor and ink. I hadn't actually painted on canvas in some three years (after a fairly prolific period in my 20s). The commission was as good a time as any to get back to the easel.
The challenge was regarding how to stay true to the work I was doing now on paper but in media that was utterly different. The approach I took was more akin to finding a way for the materials to work as they did on paper.
What you see is the result of about 30-40 hours of painting and a lot of experimentation. Questions of how to get lines that I could get with pens on canvas, how to use the paints (old as they may be, and kinda chalky) to work the way I was working now in my small work dominated a lot of the frustration of the early phases. I ran up against a lot of my portrait struggle where the structural drawing looks fantastic and as the layers accumulated I started to lose the likeness (and bit of my mind). It'd been long enough that I'd nearly forgotten how everything seems to lock in at the end.
Ultimately, I'm please with the result, they're happy with the result, and I'm feeling the bug to try another canvas piece. Which not-so-conveniently coincides with my starting on a new film. If nothing else though, I learned that I'm not completely incapable of creating a work over multiple session rather than my "all at once" approach from my 20s. (I still haven't shaken this in my watercolors though....)