An Artist's Quest


Commission piece, 3 generations and their pony pictures.  24"x12" Encaustic encased collage.

Commission piece, 3 generations and their pony pictures. 24″x12″ Encaustic encased collage.

For about a month I’ve been working on a commission or really mostly not working on a commission.  A woman who has bought some of my small encaustic collage pieces over the years asked me to do a piece using her family photos.  I accepted the commission and we talked a bit about what she likes about my work and size and price etc.  For about 2 weeks I just had the photos propped up on my studio desk.  These happy pony-riding faces stared back at me, but I struggled to get started.  I use old photos in my collages all the time, usually I don’t know the people, they are just found photos, lost photos, abandoned photos, photos that I am drawn to, photos that are asking me to give them life and put them into my art.  But now I had photos that had their own story and a client that held these people in her heart, this made me shy to impose my story on them. Of course the person who commissioned the piece wanted me to do something like the pieces she admired, that’s why she had me doing this…..well you can see why I was spinning and procrastinating. But last week I got down to business pulled out my portfolio of papers and box of ephemera and started laying things out stitching, gluing and waxing.  When I was done I was pleased and of course I need to be pleased but really she needs to be pleased.  So as I waited for her to arrive I paced my studio.  This is a tricky situation, what if she doesn’t like it? What about getting paid for my time? all this is has me spinning again, but as soon as she saw the piece she let out an excited gasp, I knew the story I had woven through her real life story worked….and once again I was reminded to trust myself, do what I do best, take the puzzle and make art, tell a story.

Here are three small pieces I did while I wasn’t doing the commission.

Encaustic Collage using images from old art book.

Encaustic Collage using images from old art book. 8×10″

Encaustic Collage using a drawing from my sketch book and book page on birds nests.

Encaustic collage using old art book images.

Encaustic collage using old art book images. 8×12″

4 responses

  1. Karin Tredrea

    I’m teary from the reminder of how gentle we all need to be with ourselves while we are doing what we do best. To believe in ourselves is one of the greatest gifts we can offer.
    Thank you for the reminder Lisa.

    March 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    • Trust in ourselves, do our best, Karin, why is that so hard to do sometimes?

      March 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm

  2. Mary Anne

    Love these images. Early in my career, I had a tough time with art commissions as it was difficult for me to stop thinking about the client’s perspective instead of mine. I learned to have frank conversations with the client before accepting a commission which usually led to all of us standing in the same corner.

    I applaud your success with this commission!

    March 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

    • Mary Anne, As you said in you comment I learned from this experience that I need to have a bigger conversation, more of an interview really so I am more comfortable with my subject and they with me.

      March 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm

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