Making Art: O. Commission Piece

Heather O’s husband contacted me and commissioned me to paint something for Heather’s upcoming birthday. Like I do nowdays, I documented the process, and now that Heather is in possession of the finished piece, I can show you all how I did it.

For the background, I used some snapshots of Heather’s trip to Jerusalem as a jumping-off point, and then used a paraphrase of a scripture given to me by her husband.Laying down the ground, I paint on dark masonite, and love the depth a dark background can give to a painting. Even if most of it ends up covered in paint, it shows through in spots, and I love it.This shows the background from the mount of olives, and the city of Jerusalem is supposed to be vaguely implied in the purple. Adding the foreground and the olive tree.

When I do the lettering, and yes, it’s freehand (I’m a type snob, what can I say) I often paint upside down, because it helps me focus on just the form, instead of my logic brain, underdeveloped though it is, taking over and focusing on the words.A view of the whole mess in my living room, as I create. The Underwood usually lives on the coffee table, but was relegated to the wingback.And the finished piece, and a detail shot. you can see my letters are imperfect- and I like it that way. Handmade, freehand letters are never going to have perfection- and while I’m biased, I know which I prefer.

18 thoughts on “Making Art: O. Commission Piece

  1. This is just BEAUTIFUL! Oh, how I wish I could have you paint something for us. What a treasure to have this to remember their trip.

  2. Jami, I don’t have documentation of your piece 😉 It’s a little less organic in the creation process, but I love it just as much. How’d it go with the phonebook lady?

  3. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us, that way at least those of us who can’t hang a Tracy McKay piece of art in their home can still enjoy looking at one!

  4. I love that you used purple to represent Jerusalem. I did a semester over there (MANY moons ago!) and I have fond memories of watching sunsets from my bedroom window. I can’t recall another place I have lived where the sky at sunset was so frequently turned PURPLE. Beautiful work!

  5. It makes me happy to see the little details in your work process, the stuff in the room shoved to the side out of the center so you can focus, and the glorious array of brushes! I mourned your recent loss of brushes.

    I admire your creative energy.

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