Friday, December 9, 2011

Hotel Commission

A week ago, I finished one of my first big commissioned paintings for an up and coming new hotel here in Krakow, Komorowski Luxury Guest Rooms.  It was a little scary, since I haven't done too many commissions before (just one other, where I was asked to do Hopper's "Night Hawks" but with personal changes, such as making the figures people they knew and changing the inside from a diner to more of a bar).  So anyway, Komorowski is a very sleek and modern design, black, white and greys with splashes of red.  The place is gorgeous, and I would honestly recommend anyone planning to come to Krakow to stay there. I know the owners, and they're very nice people who speak fluent English and Polish (the son grew up in Canada) and will go above and beyond to make sure you really enjoy your stay there. 
So I met with them to show them some ideas, and my original idea, which we all loved, was to do a painting that looked like a sketch. The subject matter was from a photo I had taken from a rooftop of the city center, the Mariacki Church, along with the clocktower and Sukiennice (Old Cloth Hall) kind of emerging from a sea of rooftops. It was going to be a white canvas with black paint for the "sketching" and some red highlights somewhere to go with the color scheme of the hotel. 
What I actually ended up painting was this:
Now, anyone reading this who is an artist probably has had this happen to them as well, where you have an idea in your head of exactly what you want the artwork to look like, be it a painting, drawing, print, whatever. When you actually sit down and do the work however, sometimes it just takes on a life of its own, or it doesn't work out for some reason and you have to go in another direction. That is what happened with this piece. I had a large canvas (about 27x47", 70x120cm) and when I did the sketchy painting on it, being just black and white, it looked like a page from a coloring book. It was too simple, and it just wasn't working. The small pen and ink sketch I did on translucent paper about 9x12" looks great, I still love that idea. That translated on to a large, solid white canvas in paint however, did not look so great. So I thought I'd add some shades of grey in places to give it a little something extra.  Then a few things in grey turned into everything in shades of grey, because it looked weird with some things grey and some plain white. I still had no idea where the red would come in (I had discussed with the owner maybe even getting red glass cut to the size of some of the windows on the church and putting it on there but I was still always thinking about where I could put some red). Finally I decided to do the 3 large windows on the church in red with the trim details in the usual black and grey.  Also the hands on the clock tower are red and the 2 tall towers on the church have little Polish flags (red and white) on the spires.  
They still really liked the original sketchy idea too, so I was asked to do that but on the translucent paper in small scale, so they can frame it and put it next to the painting. So I will be working on that today. 

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