Creation of a Commission: "Three Part Harmony"


My dear friends Sherrie and Ian are also collectors of my work. Recently, they commissioned me to create a piece of art for their spectacular new home, directing me to "do whatever you want" (Sherrie), and "do something you've never done before (Ian).  Those were the only parameters.  At first, it seemed an easy task, with free rein to create.  As I began to think about it though, that free rein seemed dauntingly limitless (although I knew there were size considerations, given where the piece would hang).  The instruction to do something I'd never done before was even more potentially intimidating--what would that be?

Fairly quickly, I settled upon creating three separate columnar forms which would relate to each other.  And, because I knew they would be hung in a stairway, I used two sizes:  the central column is 48"x 6"x 3" and the two side columns are 36"x 6"x3".  Stan built them, I gessoed each, then added two layers of tissue paper to provide a varied, textured surface.  So far, so good!  Next, I had to decide upon the color palette and what I call THE IDEA (all caps, because it was to be the unifying element of the piece; its raison d'etre).  The color palette decision was relatively easy.  THE IDEA was not. 

My usual practice of envisioning at least the general concept of a piece before beginning it didn't work this time; I was well into its structural realities before the complete visual concept dawned--I was putting the proverbial cart before the horse.  I struggled with the (to me) backward nature of this process, and many weeks went by with this facing me on the studio wall: 


center column painted...now what?
As I was coming up with ideas and rejecting them in my mind's eye, I explored the work of fiber, ceramic, and mixed media artists for a bit of inspiration (thanks, Pinterest and Sharon DiGiulio!).  Slowly, but surely, THE IDEA took shape (after a couple of wrong turns, elements of which could work for other projects, so I've saved them). Once I decided to add separate, flat MDF panels containing their own mixed media compositions to each column: voilà! I was off and running.  It's such an invigorating moment when THE IDEA finally dawns, and it's right! 
 
The result is "Three Part Harmony," which combines MDF, paper, wood, acrylic paint and inks, iron oxide, gelatin prints and polymer: mixed media for sure!  I am so pleased with the way it turned out.  Ian and Sherrie were thrilled, which also makes me happy. 
 
As with each piece, there are lessons learned.  This one showed me that "backwards" isn't always wrong (!), and eventually, with enough work, trial and error, and belief, THE IDEA will indeed present itself. 
 
Thanks, Sherrie and Ian; I hope you'll love it as much as I loved creating it for you. 
 
on studio wall

in situ, looking across second floor balcony

Three Part Harmony and Red 11 (by my husband, Stan Petelinz)

my favorite shot, looking up from the first floor




Comments

Penny A said…
BRAVA! It is stunning! To look at it, one would have NO idea that it didn't just spring forth from mind and hands -- a unified whole from concept to completion. Gorgeous work, lady! I hope that the future includes more such multi-part creations -- you work well in a larger scale 😃
Penny A said…
BRAVA! It is stunning! To look at it, one would have NO idea that it didn't just spring forth from mind and hands -- a unified whole from concept to completion. Gorgeous work, lady! I hope that the future includes more such multi-part creations -- you work well in a larger scale 😃