all photos on website by Tim Carey, Kyle Mickelson and Judson Studios 


November 30, 2018

Always Say Yes

In 2001  I was asked if I was interested in taking on a mural project that would span 48’ surrounding an atrium at a private residence in Orange County, Ca. This project would have me  painting 25 feet up in the air, on a very teetery lift. I’d be asked to paint in a foreign medium, a subject matter that I knew nothing about and in which I wasn’t particularly interested. And I had just met the owners, and had no idea what they were like or how it would be working in someone’s home for such a long period of time. Though I was terrified on all fronts,  I said yes. Above and beyond the concerns just listed, my biggest fear was that my blossoming career as a gallery artist would be snuffed out by such an all consuming project.  

I was right. RIP gallery career… 

Doing commission work, by its nature, comes with limitations. Please paint this subject, in this medium with these colors, for that space. Oh, and do it really fast. As artists we hate this.  We are asked to put aside our personal jar of proprietary and uniquely brilliant ideas, and use our “talents” to shape a foreign block of marble.  In this we often feel like we are selling out, especially considering that money is usually the driving force behind accepting most commissions. “A portrait of your grandson with the family dog?” “Sure!” “Yes ma’am I think that’s a great idea, I’d love to paint the view from the beach where your husband proposed.” 

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 “Nature reveals to him, and, seeing and feeling intensely he paints, and whether he wills it or not each brush stroke is an exact record of such as he was at the exact moment the stroke was.”                       

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit