Starting a new commission (Painting “Mt. Tam” part 1)

I'm combining these two photos into the sketch I've shown. The photo on the left is from Mt. Tam, which is just North of SanFrancisco. The tree on the right is from the airport hotel we stayed at on our last day in San Francisco. We were able to watch the planes landing at the airport from our room. It was really cool!

Here's the paint I mixed up for the red under-painting layer I will put on first. I did this with the paintings "shore path" and "travelers rest" and it made for two really vibrant pieces. The red shows through where there are any gaps left in the paint of the top layers. I don't think you really see the red, but for some reason it makes the painting feel super sunny.

Here I am in my studio putting the under-painting layer on. It actually took me about an hour, which was more time than I had planned on. I did a second canvas when I was done with this one, and got that one completed in half the time. (On that canvas I used my large brush right from the very beginning.)

I got the entire canvas covered with the red paint. Then I went back with a huge brush and smoothed it out.

The under-painting is now nice and smooth. It needs to dry for a couple of weeks before I can begin the painting.

Today I’m starting a commission. My client, Brett, loves the painting I did for our son Nathan’s nursery before he was born in 2003. Since I’m seven years farther along as a painter, I’m quite sure that this current painting will be much more striking than Nathan’s painting, since that was one of the first ones I did.

Brett and his wife have vacationed on the West Coast and loved SanFrancisco. So even though he simply wanted a painting of a big, cool tree, I thought it would be meaningful to him that his painting was inspired by some beautiful scenery I captured with photos during a trip Tim and I took to California several years ago.

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