Video: Her Reaction — When a man commissioned a painting as a surprise birthday gift for his wife


Warning: Viewers may witness great joy portrayed in this video, accompanied by some occasional loud squeals of happiness and laughter. You may have to adjust your volume accordingly.

The Story

Angi had been wanting a commissioned painting from Rachel Brask Artworks for a long time. Her husband, Jim, contacted Rachel Brask Artworks to commission such a painting based on the styles that each of them liked — to have two images merged into one diptych painting.

A few months ago, when Jim and Angi visited the studio of Rachel Brask Artworks, Rachel asked Angi for some “outside input on a commission” that she was working on “for a client” — never revealing that the client was actually Angi. Angi gave some feedback on the maquettes that Rachel had prepared, and customized them based on what she liked for the final painting.

This reveal was the moment that Jim and Rachel revealed to Angi that the painting was personally commissioned for her by her husband. See her reaction.

Artist Residency: Day 9

For the 9th day of my in-studio artist residency, I approached the studio with a sense of urgency — I had to complete these next two paintings by tonight in order to achieve my goal of 6 paintings, because tomorrow, my artist residency ends. Tomorrow my life returns to the usual obligations, tasks and distractions. I have today…I have right now.

So without hesitation, I jumped into my painting apron, and started right away on touching up the drips on the autumn rain painting — using a fan brush to feather out some of the hard lines as the colors had dripped side by side.

IMG_1315I needed to start in on my 6th canvas, so I moved the spring rain painting, which was mostly dry to the touch (albeit a little sticky), to the drying rack to join its friends winter and summer rains. I began added paint daubs in sunrise colors to this newly blank canvas — oranges, golds, reds, and dark deep purples and ultramarine blue.

It came time to start the “smear campaign” on the sunset painting, as the paint daubs from yesterday were still wet. I dribbled stand oil lightly all over the canvas with a palette knife, then lightly pressed into the painting and dragged downward in vertical lines from top to bottom, cleaning the palette knife in between.

IMG_1305Then I moved to the sunrise rain painting, added stand oil in light drips across its surface all the way from top to bottom. I left the stand oil to drip while I grabbed a quick lunch and finished writing and publishing yesterday’s blog post, then I went to work feathering out the drips on the sunrise and sunset canvases.

I think that sometimes an idea turns out just the way you had envisioned it, and sometimes it doesn’t. The colors looked great for the sunrise rain painting when I had blended in all the colors together using a dry brush technique before applying the stand oil. After a few hours, the stand oil had dragged the navy/ultramarine blue color all the way from the top down to the yellow at the bottom, causing the colors IMG_1313to run muddy, and dark, looking murky and dirty — which is not the effect that I had hoped to achieve. It this were a clay creation, I would have rolled it up into a ball and started kneading it all over — but it is a painting. So the next best option I had was to apply odorless mineral spirits to a rag, and rub away some of the dark muddy paint mixing, much like an eraser. Once those dark drip lines were gone, I was much happier with the outcome. Instead of trying to re-drip the stand oil on this particular canvas, I will instead wait for this layer to dry, then I will apply thicker paint dubs in this colors, and then apply the stand oil and smear. The viscosity of the stand oil has generally keep the colors from mixing in a dark, murky tone.

As this artist residency draws to a close, I have mixed feelings. I’m joyful and blessed that I’ve been able to spend 9-10 days intentionally in my studio to produce the beginning of a solid body of work. I’m thankful for the lessons that I’ve learned in making sure that my paints are taken care of, that my brushes are cleaned each night, and the discipline it’s taken to write a blog post at the end of each day to keep people apprised of the most recent day’s developments. I’m also feeling a little resentful that I can’t always spend this amount of time in the studio every day — I wish I could, and I hope to, at some point. But for the current time, being involved in a variety of different organizations, projects and being part of a community are all good tradeoffs for now. I will schedule another in-studio artist residency at some point again in the next year, as I found that it has reinvigorated my artwork in a way never before experienced — I felt like I was in art school again, working on something every day with a deadline and a fervor of eagerness to create. I’m going to hold on to these inspirational feelings and turn them into motivational actions to be more intentional in my daily art creation going back into my “regular” life.

Thank you for following along with my adventure here on this blog, and thank you for the many words of support and encouragement that I have received along this journey from the people in the blogosphere, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and from my community of friends, family and colleagues. Thank you for supporting and encouraging my art-making.

Artist Residency: Day 8

Day 8 of my in-studio artist residency brought with it a new burst of energy — realizing that my residency is winding down, but knowing that I still have at least two paintings to still make. I shifted my work plan to make sure that I would have enough time in these last two days to finish strong..

My first order of action was to add more paint daubs to the autumn rain painting on the easel, working in more golds and yellow-greens, sap green and some alizarin crimson re, followed by adding in blue gray daubs to the top quarter of the canvas, where the sky will be implied.

IMG_1234Once all the daubs were on and it felt ready, I began smearing the autumn rain colors down the canvas from top to bottom using a combination of palette knife and fan brush. Instead of obsessing over exactly how perfectly I wanted the colors to blend together as they dripped, I chose to walk away from the canvas for a bit, work on something else, and then return after the stand oil drips had dropped a little more, revealing which colors would stand out in the process.

I checked on the winter rain painting, and finding that it was dry enough to a light touch, I moved it from its easel to the drying rack to join its friend, summer rain. This opened up a new easel, upon which I put a blank canvas and started to work on a 5th painting.

I had to take a pause to revisit my sketchbook for the color studies and concepts that I had wanted to explore in this rain series, settling upon a sunset rain to be my next project. So I mixed up warm yellows, golds, pinks and purples and started daubing the canvas.

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During a brief break for lunch and tea, I read an inspiring quote in Professional Artist magazine:

Inspiration is not like free-floating music that one can suddenly tune into — rather it is the result of sustained activity and strong intentions.
–Eric Maisel

This struck me because as many artists, I wish something would just *inspire* me with a marvelous idea — but it’s through constantly working through your artwork that a muse will come. This is how I’ve felt this week, as I’ve been working through the ideas I have for the abstracted rainy moments series.

IMG_1250I revisited the autumn rain painting, noticed how some of the drops had continued their drip, and used a large brush and fan brush to feather the surface and blend the colors together in areas where the surface needed a little adjustment.

Today, I made a resolution that I will finish 6 paintings during my artist residency this week (God-willing, of course), since I was already so very close. Time to continue the sustained push towards the finish line.

I finished applying more paint daubs to the sunset rain canvas, filled up the canvas, and have it ready to start applying the stand oil smearing technique tomorrow.

Artist Residency: Day 7

I can’t believe it’s already day 7 of my artist residency — I’ve been doing this now for one full calendar week, and I still have 2 days left. I started off by checking on the surfaces of the summer, winter and spring paintings — to see that there are no marred areas of the surface, and to check to see how dry/wet the surface still is. When checking the surface, I found that a few tiny bugs were also appreciators of fine art — they had attached themselves and immersed themselves into the art.

 So I took a small flat brush, dug them out of the paint, and then used a fan brush to lightly blend over the mark that their extrusion had created.

I reworked some of the surface of the spring rain painting, adding in some brighter spring colors over the stand oil and blending it in with a mix of paint and stand oil with a fan brush. I’m pleased with how the drips are coming along.

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Since I created the summer rain painting now 7 days ago, I thought it was just dry enough to move from my main canvas to the drying rack. I very carefully moved it from easel to drying rack, being careful of the pools of stand oil that had accumulated on the very bottom of the canvas, where the canvas rested on the easel base. Fortunately, even though it was sticky, it was no longer runny.

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Now I had a blank easel upon which to add a new blank canvas. I put my fourth canvas up on the easel, and toned it with a golden yellow color. This next painting will bring the series around to its seasonal full-circle, back to Autumn Rain (the one that inspired the rest of this series).

While I waited for some of the paint to dry a bit more, I took some time to add the “Art in Interior Spaces” section to my website, a page that shows some simulations for how some of my paintings would look “living” in different types of spaces: living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, offices, etc.

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Having put up 4 canvases for painting this week, it was time to buy more canvas! I took a trip to my local art store and found the 40″x30″ canvases on sale for 50% off! I was so excited about the sale and about the new canvas that I bought all 6 of that size left in stock. While I was there, I also picked up a new, sturdier portable easel that can handle tall paintings.

IMG_1189Upon my return from art-supply shopping bliss, I donned my painting apron and added paint daubs of yellow ochre, yellow-orange, orange-red, cadmium red and alizarin crimson in mixed hues to the autumn rain canvas.

Feeling productive for the day, and also wanting to catch up on the sleep that the lack thereof seemed to ruin yesterday, I cleaned my brushes and went to sleep a bit earlier than the nights prior (after watching a quick episode of Bob Ross on Netflix, of course).

 

Artist Residency: Day 6

On day 6 of my artist residency, I think I reached that point, not of no return, but of obstacle and tiredness. I’ve been working so early and so late each day that I think that the physical wear and tear from these intense days is catching up with me, because today’s adventure hit a few roadblocks.

I began painting at 7am and worked on the next section of building up the texture with adding more paint daubs to the winter rain painting. Just as I was getting my groove, I almost forgot that I was scheduled to attend a seminar on online marketing for small businesses — a topic that is of interest to me and to communicating about my art and design business. The seminar was well attended and presented good information, but I couldn’t wait to return to the studio to keep painting!

After that event let out at noon, I returned to the studio, and continued to paint. A good friend of mine, who is also an artist, visited me in the studio for a couple hours along with her 4 week old baby. I could tell that she was an artist dedicated to her craft in how she cradled her baby in one hand as he slept, and continued drawing with the other hand. 

My friend and her little one left around 5pm, then I took a short dinner break and continued painting. I was just about to start smearing the pink-toned canvas with the pastel colors, but then in my clumsiness, my foot bumped the leg of the easel, and then this started a downward chain reaction — the painted wobbled, bumped the jar of paint thinner, which fell off the table and onto the floor, spilling all its contents. In my haste to try to catch the jar, I bumped the painting even more, causing it to fall off of the easel, and barrel towards the floor. I reached for it, smudging a big area of the blue-sky area of the painting, but the wet painted edge had already made contact with the wall and the carpet.

*** *** Breathe *** ***

(Just recalling the incident gets me all shaken up). I threw things out of the way and started to grab any rags or paper towels I could to be able to soak up as much of the spilled paint pigment & paint thinner as I could. I cannot express just how angry and frustrated I was that this all happened — and right as I was already feeling like I was a little bit behind on my projected work plan — now this was going to set me behind even more.

I had to walk away and calm down — so I went and put on an episode of Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting, since I wasn’t feeling to joyful at that moment. After watching the making of some “happy trees,” I calmed down and returned to the mess (how can you not calm down after watching Bob Ross?)

With a clearer head and an action plan, I moved the canvas, secured it more tightly to the easel (this time with extra clamps) and proceeded to start the smearing from top to bottom with stand oil on the painting that had fallen. I cleaned up the smudges from my attempt to rescue the painting from its fallen demise.

My husband returned later with the Bissell spot cleaner and dove straight into scrubbing the spot for me — upon his insistence that he help me in this way. Grateful for his help with cleaning up the rest of what seemed a disaster, I said I’d give him a shout-out for being such an amazing husband: I have an amazing husband and he came to my rescue in my moment of need!

So the lessons here are:

  1. Get enough sleep each night
  2. Watch your feet
  3. Put a cover on your jar of paint thinner when it’s not in immediate use.
  4. Keep a spot cleaner and carpet stain-cleaning solution in your studio if you have a carpet.
  5. Start a fund to install easier to clean hard-surfaced floors.