Custom Landscape: Reelfoot
In the winter of 2018 I was tasked with a large art project. The Grear family was looking for a large, custom painting for their dining room. Their home, located in Eads, TN, has beautiful natural light. The floor to ceiling windows and clean, minimalist style promotes a welcoming and soothing environment as soon as you enter their home. They have charming brick walls with natural oak floors which compliment their neutral furniture.
In their den, adjacent the dining room, they have a beautiful 60 x 48 abstract piece of art that hangs over their mantel. It has calm blues, golds and gray tones mixed throughout.
Looking at the flow of their rooms and natural light they knew they did not want another abstract painting for their dining room. In this room they wanted a standout landscape painting with an intense sunset and texture.
TJ had a photo from a lake in West Tennessee. The sky was bright, full of burning, warm hues as the sun set over the lake. It overlooked ducks on the water and natural trees in the horizon.
This custom painting needed to cover 72 inches on a long wall behind the dining room table. The painting also needed to be tall enough to float well on the 12 ft tall walls. It was going to be a beast of a painting but after measuring off the area we had ideas of how to make it unique to the space.
Ben had the idea to break the canvas into two canvases and making it a diptych painting. We broke the photo TJ had into two parts and it looked as so it would be perfect. I used two 36 wide x 48 tall gallery wrapped canvases and quickly went to work on the composition. The total painting size came to 72 wide (6 ft wide) x 48 tall (4 ft tall).
As I began to work on this painting I found the most challenging part was was the texture TJ requested. She had seen several landscape paintings and noticed how flat the paint was on the canvas. She definitely wanted more texture but not so much that it took on an abstract style. My goal was to work with impasto oil medium and mix in my oil paint as I added layers. I added MANY layers. The first few layers were flat to establish the under painting. I had to set the light in the painting and blend the light with the shadows. Once I had the base painted I then worked back over the flat layers adding more texture, hues, highlights and ripples in the water as I went.
This painting took a little over 16 to 18 weeks to complete. The day I hung the painting was a huge day because I find I stress on installation days. I always fear my clients will not be 100% happy with the art. However, as much as I stressed over this piece of art it fit the space perfectly. The natural light highlighted the texture of the painting. The bright painted sunset complimented the light colored walls and the blue water matched the hint of pale blue in the dining room chairs. I named this painting Reelfoot after Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee. TJ is originally from that area and I cannot remember if the photo is from that particular lake but it just fit. This was one of the most challenging and rewarding commissions I have done for a client so far.