For most of my commissions I get asked if I could do a painting of a particular city and sometimes the client has a wish to see a particular element represented in the painting, I've had requests to add (or remove) specific buildings, people and in one case even a city bus.
Now, I only work with my own photographic material so I can only do cities that I've actually visited and taken photos of, and the commission I'm currently working on is a little bit special that way. I'm currently working on a piece of Haarlem, a city in the Netherlands that I had visited often but had never actually taken pictures of. So during the my last trip across the pond, I spent a day walking through the city together with the client to take pictures and see all the places that he wanted me to incorporate into the painting. This was the first time I went out to take photographs together with the client and it was a wonderful way for me to get a better feel for the painting as well as the city. I hope to be able to do something like this again for future commissions.
Creating the composition is always the most difficult part of the creative process, but in this case it was a little bit easier because I had a better idea of which elements were the most important.
Working on a commissioned piece is always a bit more complicated and daunting because the client has certain expectations and you sometimes have to change the composition to live up to those expectations. But it is always a great honour that someone would choose to have you create something special for them and their reactions are always worth that bit of extra stress :)
The commission of Haarlem is now in the final stages, a couple of days of painting and some varnish and then it is done and I know my client is eagerly awaiting the result so I should head back into the studio and start painting! I will leave you with some images of the creative process for this piece so far, and yes..... there are duck involved! :D