In my house, that is.
I would like to say that HGTV interior designer Genevieve Gorder landed on my doorstep because of my impressive interior design sense but that would be less than accurate.
But I have a far better explanation: a love of my artwork.
Genevieve was one of the original decorators on TLC's hit series, Trading Spaces. She now hosts her own show on HGTV, Dear Genevieve, which premiered on the network in January 2009. To quote HGTV: Designer Genevieve Gorder offers down-to-earth advice to real people who have fallen out of love with their home. In each episode she delves into the gallery where viewers from HGTV.com have uploaded their design issues. Instead of just writing back with a suggestion, Genevieve provides the answer — in person.
But Genevieve wasn't coming to my house to solve my design issues (tho I sure could use her help); she had discovered my artwork on Etsy and commissioned me to create a painting for one of her show's home makeovers. Welcome to my studio, Genevieve.
Genevieve was making over a room for a single mother of 3 daughters and wanted to incorporate the work of a local artist into the redesign. Specifically, she enlisted the daughters' help in surprising their mother with a portrait, executed in my loose style with ink and watercolor.
Genevieve's request was fairly specific -- she had a large 3'x4' space to hang the finished painting and she wanted the bulk of the painting to be, well, unpainted. She sent me this photo (right) of a piece that included a portion of the famous Andrew Wyeth Painting, Christina's World, tucked into the lower left corner of a large blank canvas. My mission would be to do an ink and watercolor of the subject of the show, just her head and shoulders, looking up and across the wide open space of the rest of the painting.
And it was all to happen very quickly.
I received the invitation to participate on a Tuesday morning, the 4-man camera crew plus Genevieve came to my home to shoot me painting sketching and painting in my studio Wednesday evening, and I was to turn in the finished painting by early Friday morning. A very quick tunraround. The show typically creates a makeover within one week's time and they needed the painting for the final "reveal" that would surprise the family.
The mother's two youngest daughters came to the shoot in my studio as well, to see how I work and to tell me a bit about their mom. I had several photo references from which to work and the girls really enjoyed watching me bring images of their mom to life.
First, I created several loose line drawings on sheets of inexpensive, 18"x24" newsprint. The final watercolor would be on a much larger sheet of heavy 250lb Arches Cold Pressed paper, 26"x40" so I knew I could work rather large on the newsprint sheet.
After several attempts, I began to feel like I was finally capturing a good likeness of their mom.
I then made some smaller ink sketches experimenting with different techniques and media -- first, the same tool I used on the newsprint, a Pilot Precise V7 rolling ball pen with Fine tip:
Then also an eyedropper and bamboo pen in ink, my favorite techniques:
I used these smaller sketches to create different color studies. At first I went with my usual jewel-tone rich colors:
But Genevieve asked for a warmer look, with sepia and golden ocher:
So I had a lot of good references on hand by the time the shoot was finished:
Even my paper scraps where I dabbed my brush in between paint strokes had some beautiful color combinations.
So I was ready to tackle the big sheet of fine watercolor paper........... but without a crowd looking over my shoulder, thank goodness.
The camera crew said their good byes. Genevieve posed for a few photos with me and also purchased a few more items to include in the re-design. I was thrilled to layout nearly all of my work for her to pore over. She purchased several to have framed and include in the re-design:
Tafarii No. 3 14"x 16" ink and watercolor on paper
Also these three pen and inks, 4" x 6" each - some were so new I hadn't even had time to scan them for my archive so I just took this quick snap with my phone:
Finally, Genevieve fell in love with one more of my drawings and purchased it for herself:
Face It No. 2 10.25 " x 14.25" pen and ink on paper
Then it was time for me to get back to work.
I actually painted two versions of the final portrait on the large sheet of heavy paper. The first one was pretty controlled and and cautious - it didn't thrill me. It was not very interesting and it was a little muddy. Uh oh.
I'd purchased several sheets of the "good" paper, just in case I didn't nail it on the first try. So I pulled out the second sheet and just threw caution to the wind, and had a little more fun with it, loosening up considerably. And with a lighter touch, the watercolor layers looked fresh and vibrant. It was a winner!
I handed off the painting late thursday evening, whew.
When I find out the air date for this episode, I'll post it here on the blog. We'll find out together if I made it in to the show and how the final portrait looks up on the wall of the made over room - stay tuned!
And look for this special shout out to my Etsy team -- the "cool people with a sense of humor keeping it real, making treasuries and lots of other crap we feel like doing."
Had it up on my inspiration board, above my watercolor work table, so we'll see it.....I hope!