The Five Sisters of Kintail

So often in painting life I have an idea that I just have to paint, or I set myself a goal, such as an upcoming exhibition or a project like my recent 30 days of paintings, which I uploaded to my Etsy shop in November last year and sometimes I get inspirations that I just have to work on. But my latest piece was commissioned.

Commissions can very challenging for an artist, as one is trying to create something which is someone else’s vision or memory, it can feel like a huge responsibility . I’ve done a lot of commissions in the past and I always enjoy the challenge, but this particular painting was, and will continue to be a favourite.

Firstly it was based on a recent sketch I did of the Five Sisters of Kintail, a stunningly beautiful range of mountains in the Western Highlands of Scotland.

Five Sisters of Kintail – a rough sketch

This sketch was done at the viewpoint on the Auchtertyre Brae, looking towards Kintail. The lady who commissioned the painting liked the sketch because it reminded her of fond memories she had of walking in these mountains, so she contacted me and we discussed me doing a painting for her.

Firstly though, I decided to go and do some more sketching and take some photos to help me make sure that my painting was accurate. The weather on my second visit was less kind than the day I did the first sketch, but I waited for a while and the skies cleared just long enough for me to do a couple more sketches and take some photos (I know it looks like it was a lovely sunny day, and it was…for about 20 minutes!)

Next we had a conversation about canvas size and composition. We wanted to keep some of the immediacy and energy of the first sketch while making the mountains themselves the focus of the painting.

Then, canvas and composition decided, I began to paint.

I really enjoyed painting this one. The composition came together quite quickly, without too many issues. Because I had done so much preparation work I found that the paint seemed to flow and that I did manage to get both the detail and the energy that I aimed for into the painting.

Some last minute touches and then I had to step away. I always let a painting sit for a day or two before I know its finished, then I added a highlight or two and then it was done. The finished piece is quite large, 100cms x 50, it is acrylic on deepedged canvas and I painted the edges black so it was ready to hang

The lady who’d commissioned the painting was delighted with it and it has now headed off to a lovely new home.

It was a wonderful experience, a painting I loved doing and a satisfied customer. This is why I feel so blessed to be able to work as an artist.

The finished painting – “Five Sisters in the snow”

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