By relating compositional components to one another, I am able to expand context and achieve greater accuracy in my drawings and paintings. Through my studies, I observed my tendency to relate things in terms of their proximity. Upon considering why I do that, I believe it is simply for the sake of convenience. It's very easy to compare or contrast something in relation to whatever is immediately next to it. I've found, however, that In order to improve my understanding of something, it is advantageous to push the boundaries of comparison points as far out from the point of origin as I am able. Thus, pushing me out of a visual comfort zone. The further out I look for a relationship and point of comparison, the more I am able to accurately render it. This applies to shapes, colors, lines, angles, values, and even life.  

The visual technique that helps me to accomplish this is triangulation. With this approach, I look for a single, distinct point of reference as a source of truth (an anchor), by which I compare all other references. Once that point is established, I look for the next obvious point. From this secondary point, I look for a third point to relate to, in order to further perspective. Of course, I could expand to have additional points, but three seems to be the minimal number required to achieve the accuracy I seek. This is one of several tools I use to interpret the visual world through pattern recognition.

The examples above were studies for a self portrait.

The examples above show the progression of a work in progress, illustrating how triangulation ultimately translates into an actual drawing (self-portrait).

Connection and Creation

Last night, I delivered three paintings to some friends of mine that had commissioned me to do some artwork for their home. I brought the works, one by one, into the house. As I hung up each piece in the very place I had designed it for, the art came alive. Afterall, the colors, content and sizes were all specifically catered to the environment of this particular dining room. It was gratifying for all of us to see the work this way, after going through a process where we had discussed ideas, designs and dimensions several months ago. It's easy to get excited about the concept of a project like this- everyone has their own idea of what the final product will be- but to actually see the finished product really creates a feeling that's hard to express.

Once all of the art had been placed, my friend Melanie said to me, "So, nobody else will ever have paintings like these, right?" I confirmed she was correct- I had designed the paintings specifically for them and they were not to be reproduced. A few moments passed and the idea really started to sink in. With great excitement she went on, "You know, somebody could give me $10,000 to spend on any art I wanted and I would never be able to come up with this. I mean, you can't just buy this kind of work."

Melanie was right- there was no way she could have simply happened upon that kind of art- it didn't exist. The paintings were created for her and her husband- by me for them- and that is what made it so special. After I left their house, I felt so happy and fulfilled- I had conceived and delivered artwork that had a significant impact on my clients; work they will surely enjoy and cherish for a long time to come.

As I headed home, down the highway from the foothills of Colorado toward Denver, I was struck by the sight of a big, bright orange moon that seemed to be there just for me to honor the moment.

P.S. If you would like to learn more about Customized Commissioned Art Work, click here.