Daimond in the rough lookin' so sparkly.

This week was such an amazing week for me as an artist.  I was able to kick it off right by finishing a commission of a dead tree.  The commission was for a piece of art work big enough to be displayed in a home that made reference to a photo provided by the client.  The photo, I was asked to reference from, was a close up of the tree with the branches and trunk all out of frame.  My client wished to have the drawing expand on the branch and trunk from the photo, giving me free range to create a whole tree from just the small piece in the photo.  Knowing that she was planning to display the finished drawing as wall art  in her new home left me MEGA-nervous!  On top of the bit of knowledge there was also the fact that I have never actually drawn something like this, ever!   Dead TreeSimilar to the saying "the journey of a thousands miles begins with one step", a master piece must begin with a single stroke.  Yet, this one stroke is always the hardest part for me.  So many negative and doubtful things run through my mind as a try to put pencil to paper.  Luckily, however, I rarely back down from a challenge when I'm scared, and a soon as I start, all the doubt and bad thoughts fade away.  That isn't to say I'm always happy with the first draft, either.  In fact, I drew and re-drew this particular tree about four or five times before I stopped myself.  I say "stopped" because that's literally what I did.  I had to take a step back as tell myself, "If you keep re-doing it, you'll never get it done. Make THIS one WORK!"  Ahh, I, the eternal perfectionist. lolNext was the process of fine tuning the sketch with shading and details.  I had to make sure to always be conscious of the light source and to keep my hands off the paper as much as possible since I was using pencils. (I ended up turning clean cotton socks in to gloves to keep the paper oil free.)At the risk of sounding silly, I best describe this part as "magical".  It's like the drawing just draws itself.  While I'm sure below the surface my brain is running a mile a minute directing my hand and processing the information my eyes are gathering, above the surface I feel as calm as can be.  My mind becomes a blank (not even thoughts about techniques float by in there) and it's just me and the drawing in front of me existing in solace.  Then, poof! the drawing is done and reality floods back into me and there in front of me, as if by magic, is a completed work.   Seeing my client accept the drawing was amazing.  Anyone could see from her face, she was really pleased with it.  That kind of expression is always worth any hardship or struggle that happens to befall a project.  Even better, I found out later that the tree from the reference photo wasn't just any ol' tree, but  one from her father's ranch.  With the ranch's future ownership in uncertainty, the drawing I did gained a lot of sentimental value.  Hearing stories like this, where I can bring  a little bit of joy to the world  with my art, truly brings joy to my heart. Tattoo sketchAND if that wasn't enough! ...I also found out that a commission I did almost two years ago ended up as ink on human skin!  Yup, a tattoo!  This client wished to get inked in memory of her late sister.  She gave me the Columbia/Tristar logo and asked for a flying horse like the one in the picture.  While, you may being thinking, "but all you had to do was copy a photo" it wasn't that easy.  I had to make the drawing simple enough to be a black and white tattoo while still keeping it from looking like a page from a colouring book.  Even the simplest sounding things can become difficult when put into practice.  The end result came out really great though, and just this week she paid me a visit to show me the actual tattoo.  I'm sure my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw it. I was utterly speechless!   For someone to use my art for such a heartfelt sentiment and for something so permanent, was truly humbling for me.  I will always be grateful for her to have given me the opportunity.I'm still speechless, to this very day!With a week as action packed as this one,  it's no wonder I slept until noon (despite going to bed fairly early the night before)!  My first weekend day off from the day job, however, there is no time for relaxing just yet.  Just as Gwen Stefani sings in the song Luxurious, gotta "work so hard every night and day" to "get the pay back". :]