I painted this many years ago. It’s one of the few that I did specifically at my mother’s request. Even then I didn’t do commissions although I didn’t really think about it as a commission because the only thing my mother chose was the size. She bought the canvas which I appreciated. It’s reasonably large.
The problem here was the amount of detail in the original image. I don’t remember where I got the image but it’s the first time that I had to grapple with simplifying an image. I alter or simplify just about every image I use for painting. Sometimes the reason is design but more often I simply remove things that don’t add to the painting. It can be difficult to add things to a painting but leaving them out is easy. If I have to add something I will often go out and get a photo in appropriate light to go into the painting. Siwash Rock, a work I did recently, ended up using different images for Siwash Rock, the ocean, some of the rocks, Sea stars and the clouds I just made-up. I normally can’t just make stuff up but one of the artists I studied under could. During a painting lesson I watched him paint a beautiful purple hued forest scene without a picture. When I asked he said he did it from memory. At the time I thought my memory was better (there was quite a discrepancy in our ages) so I think he just made it up. I now think that ‘making it up’ is more amazing than doing it from memory.
I’ve attached an image of the painting that hung in my mother’s entry-way for years. This is one of my few works that I actually like. I’ve always been proud that I changed quite a few things and actually made-up a couple of small areas. It looks nothing like the area of Stanley Park that it is supposed to represent.