These are some paintings from a couple of recent commissions for Country Living magazine. I've worked with Mike Bain over the years at various magazines like Outside and O, and now he's here at CL and has been having me do pieces that are similar to some of my sketchbook work.
This first series are images from a feature about a woman's lifelong relationship with gardening. They needed to have a reflective, dreamy feel to them yet offer specific plants and a location specific atmosphere.
Working this way is really different for me than my other work. Because these really aren't conceptual, and the feel is dependent on the process, the "sketch" is generally a finished piece, so I always want to try and get it on the first round.
Immediately above is the first sketch. They liked it in general but felt it had too ominous a feel. I re-did it (top), and attempted to simplify it and give it more dream and beholden it less to the specifics of the photographic reference.
These are some spots that were sprinkled throughout. For whatever reason, for me plants are hard to draw; I enjoyed the challenges of making dynamic vignettes and trying to make the color interesting.
This drawing was floated in the middle of the page on a field of paper texture, just a vignette of a garden scene.
This is another feature story, this time about a guy who found that long walks helped him cope with getting through a divorce. Again, there was a specific location - Greenwich Point park in Massachusetts. Here again the challenge was to simplify an otherwise complex compilation of images and try and tell a story.
This one also needed to have text over the top half of the image, so the colors needed to be kept as light as possible. Above is the final piece.
This was the original sketch painting. According to the editor, the main guy was all wrong, as were the couple in the background. So repaint those characters...
With stuff like this, I can make a separate painting and pop in the update - not very purist, but it's the only way to do this sort of thing.
Finally, these last two were for the turn-page spread. Top is the sketch, bottom the final. Again, type needed to lay on top of the image, so ultimately I had to strip the color down, take out the bicyclist, jogger and trees and make the guy smaller and the same as the opener. I guess it worked out ok, but who knows.
I liked this little bicyclist. Oh well, as Heidi Klum would say - "OUT!!".