anatomy of a koi painting commission

It’s always a joy to work with a new client who has specific ideas about what they envision in a future painting  adorning their wall.  In this particular instance, it was the last piece of an elaborate puzzle in a complete renovation of a most charming beach home on Boston’s North Shore.  As a focal point in the living room/dining room area,  the painting would live right smack in the heart of the house.

Together we all arrived at a size  –  30×30 inches –  that would work best in the space.   A careful look at many details in my koi painting portfolio then led us to include a combination of  the following key elements:  craggy rock edge,  waterfall, background water lilies,  3-5 koi fish teeming in water.


It was a fun challenge to fit everything in.  I began with a simple sketch.  Once approved,  I had the green light to proceed with painting it.  I’m happy to say it was just completed on Friday.  All of us who have seen it – including me – are delighted with the results.


nourishing your art spirit

We’re all natural artists. That is, until some sort of authority, most likely an adult, tells us that we can’t draw, or we can’t paint — because we have no talent. That’s when we stop trusting our intuition and become influenced by outside sources. I think this drives many a natural artist underground. So far underground, that whatever creative spark was there becomes extinguished forever.

I’d like to share an amusing story about me. Freshman year in college,   I entered a beginning drawing class with great enthusiasm. After all, I was an art major. (It’s important to mention that this course was taught by my advisor because it made what happened all the more compelling.) We students had gone outside to draw for the majority of our 3 hour class. Near the end of the period,  we returned to mount all of our work on the wall for a critique. My advisor,  the professor, talked about everyone else’s work but mine. I was crestfallen. And too shy at that point to say anything about it.  So, the next time we went outside to draw, I decided to go to the cafeteria for lunch instead… Why bother?

Now comes the amusing part. I was uncomfortable with the drawing materials at first. It took awhile for me to regain my motivation, my passion and to develop facility with line. I then took advanced drawing,  followed by an independent study in drawing which I adored. After graduation,  while in graduate school, that same professor invited me back to his class as a guest speaker. How about that?   Finally he noticed me!

Take your natural talent and feed it.  Wonderful things can happen.