Just released: “1 August 2009”. Oil on canvas. 30″ x 30″
The request? to capture the memory, the feeling, the moment of the day the clients were married at the beautiful St Michael and all angels church in Victoria.
We first met in the days before Christmas 2010 at the Granville Island public market and by June we had started discussing the possibilities of this painting being born. I can now admit that the prospect of undertaking a commission of such personal significance was rather intimidating but I reminded myself that this is why I have my commissions process in place: no commitment to purchase and a site visit. This is my safety net which allows me to relax, explore and to enjoy the process.
After a busy summer, we scheduled a joint visit to St Michael’s for late September and were fortunate enough to have chosen a gloriously sunny day midst the monotonous rains. Needing reassurance, I took this as a sign that I was the right artist for this painting and that she would come to life under my fingers. A confidence short-lived as upon my arrival at St Michael’s, I discovered the annual Autumn Fair in full swing. The one request which I had thus far was the exclusion of people. I set myself at an inconspicuous but perfect angle under a tree and begun the charcoals before my clients arrived to discuss what they liked about the church, what was important to them about the day and what part of the memories we needed to focus on. We agreed to capture the warmth of the day, the car which was parked slightly to the side, the flowers at the church entrance, the stained glass windows and the beauty of the sides of the church. Armed with photographs, sketches, copies of their wedding photographs and an internal video of the church playing in my mind, I made my way back to Vancouver.
Painting should have commenced that Monday but by Thursday I was still watching the fluctuations of light slowly drift across the white primed canvas. It is rare that a canvas intimidates me and perhaps this is why it made the most of this occasion with its taunts: “come on, you can do it, the images are there, the feeling is there, you are ready!” and then just as I loaded the brush it would suddenly say “mm but are you sure that it has ripened enough?” As I set my brush aside I swear that I could hear it whispering “power to the canvas”. As darkness descended in the studio that Thursday evening, I took a deep breath, closed my mind and begun.
She was ready – I was ready