Commission: Light Trails
Had a blast making this multi-piece commission based off my 'Breathe' abstract series.
It consists of 3 small canvas pieces (8" x 8") and 1 large canvas piece (24" x 30") for a beautiful family home; inspired by starry skies, outer space and the feelings of awe and lightness.
Hwee Ming enjoyed the Breathe series a lot and approached me to commission works in the style and colour scheme of one the pieces titled 'Heads Held High'.
This is how 'Heads Held High' looks like:
As I was discussing with Hwee Ming about the pieces, she shared with me that she met her hubby in Astronomy Club and how much they like the skies and outer space.
It reminded me of my recent Bali trip, where the sky was absolutely clear and beautiful in the day and there was this one night where all the power of the island was shut for Nyepi Day and I got to see all the beautiful constellations in the night-time sky.
So for this commission, I decided to keep the joyful lightness of 'Heads Held High' in the smaller works, and incorporate some darker elements into the large painting to represent the colours of the changing sky and outer space.
The Challenge: From Paper to Canvas
Up til now, 'Breathe' is a series of abstracts done on paper, with the strokes kept intentionally minimal and the whites of the paper showing through.
The problem with painting them the same way on canvas (leaving the background and the edges unpainted) would make it feel unfinished. Also, the paintings were to be hung without a frame. If the edges were kept white, the painting would blend right into the wall and feel aesthetically lacking.
The Solution: Layers and Layers of Textures & Paint!
Canvas can take much more layers and textures than paper can.
So I loaded up the pieces with a textural under-layer (made with gel medium, texture paste and resin sand) and an under-painting (with different acrylic paints). Covered them all with a translucent layer of white, and layered the brushstrokes over.
Here's a timelapse video of the large painting, shot over a few days.
The smaller works were made in a similar way.
Each layer and brushstroke had to be perfectly dry before the next one was added. And once the brushstrokes went on, there was no way of undoing it.
It was really a work of patience and faith!
Here are some close-ups of the pieces:
The Finished Paintings
When I delivered the paintings, I let Hwee Ming and her family have the honour of naming the pieces.
Her hubby named the large one 'Light Trails' - a tribute to their love of astronomy. Hwee Ming named the 3-panel piece 'Holding' - because it reminds her of the space in between breaths. Their 8-year-old daughter wanted to name the 3-panel piece 'Rainbow Air', which I thought was an aptly beautiful name too!
Here's how the pieces look like hanging in their happy home:
Thank you Hwee Ming and family for the opportunity to beautify your homes! Hope these works bring colour and joy to your life!
Here’s what Hwee Ming has to say:
“Nice! I like the touches of black. Love the layering effect… Excellent! Very effective for color to look multi-dimensional. Thumbs up for the hard work!”
If you're interested in commissioning me to paint your story, drop me a message on my contact page with your idea! I'll get in touch with you.