Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First sale from my Etsy shop!

I've finally completed and mailed my first sale from my Etsy shop!  On Etsy, I started out with my custom drawings of wedding gowns, and then someone suggested I paint bouquets, too.  I thought that was brilliant, since flowers are some of my absolute favorite subjects.  My first customer contacted me in mid October and asked if I could get it done and to him before November 12, his first anniversary with his wife.  Sure!  Then Hurricane Sandy hit and I was without power for a week here in New Jersey and managed to finish it anyway, sometimes painting by candlelight! (Which, by the way, is not a fun way to paint!) But I finished it in time and he gave it to his wife yesterday.  He told me that they loved it, which makes me so happy!  I'm always nervous doing commissioned work for people for fear they'll see all the little mistakes and things that bother me, plus all their expectations...So when a customer is happy, that makes me very happy. 
I even remembered to take pictures of the painting in progress so I can share them here.  When I paint watercolor, I usually paint wet into dry, which is how I did this painting.  It's more precise and when you have a lot of detail work, I find wet into dry works best. 

The first steps I took were to paint the parts the customer told me were important.  He really wanted the peacock feather to be highlighted, since they were special to his wife and came from her family farm. He also wanted the cloth around the flowers stems to be visible.  I painted the fabric first, since it was a pretty pattern and looked fun to do.
Next, of course, came the peacock feathers. I was a little scared to paint them, but they came out pretty well and I had fun mixing the dark blues and greens in their centers. 
After the fabric and feathers were done, I started to paint by color.  I did the little green berries and some leaves.  I figured going by the colors was an easier way to paint then being all over the place, mixing all different colors and being fairly disorganized (in my opinion). 
I then started in with my reds and purples. I painted the first layers of the red flowers, then went in with the purple flowers. When the first layers of red paint were dry, I went in and finished the red ones. I find red a tricky color and it needs several layers and a lot of attention to be just right. 
Finished the red flowers, and a few more pink and purples ones. 
Starting to put in some of the white flowers as well.  The painting is really starting to come together now and it's exciting to see it looking like an actual bouquet of flowers!
Almost done!  I put in the blue ribbon and finished all the flowers.  All that's left is some detail work with the wispy pieces that are sticking out and finishing up the larger leaves on the outside edges. 
And here again, the finished bouquet.  Watercolor on cold pressed paper, 9"x12".