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commission and a contingency

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I’ve been working on a commissioned painting for a local couple.   Commissions are tough for an abstract artist.  After all, it’s a bit difficult to articulate the subject of the painting, and there are generally no nameable objects depicted.

My own work includes elements of randomness (well, pseudo-randomness).  I use an understanding of the fluid properties of different media to create somewhat predictable splashes, rivulets, clustered pigment textures, stains, threaded fluid patterns, and visual textures from interdiffusion.  Making another “just like that one” would be nearly impossible.  I also don’t believe it’s ethical to call something original if you’re willing to make a copy… even if the minute details and placements of the brushstrokes make the copy “unique”.

After discussing which elements to include and leave out, there was still quite a bit of  “play” in the description of the work to be done.  The commission was not exactly specified to engineer-happy tolerances, but this is abstract art and not engineering.  The answer to artistic imprecision?  Contingency canvases!

The first two images are the contingency canvas, which was accepted.  The remaining are sunlight, shade, and details of the primary canvas, which is now a work in progress.  (Mine to play with – maybe add some aquatic features and give it to my Mom).