The Special Order


image1 (7)sheriCAM00437This is a story about a special order painting that I recently completed.   I wanted to write about the process so that clients would see how a special order is executed.

An anonymous famous writer, Sheri, bought a painting from me at the French Market. She was vacationing in New Orleans while researching a writing project.   Oooh, maybe her new story will include a charming, famous painter?  She bought a painting of a vintage two story house in mid city; very darling.  She took my card and then looked at more on my work on Face book and this blog.  Then she had a brilliant flash of inspiration.  She had taken a photograph of a scene behind the French Market of a fountain, a bronze statue of a girl, and a mural representing the market area in the 1800’s. It was a really nice shot. And she thought she wanted a painting of the scene.

In contacting me, (which of course I was very flattered), she decided that she wanted a special order painting of this photo and then maybe a couple more A.E. Barnes paintings to begin a collection.  She wanted to be in the same boat as Rod Stewart; because actually he is still pretty darn cute.  Ok, so I love to do special orders because they are challenging. The client has to work with me quite a bit to arrive at perfect communication about the art work.   And so we began…

I studied the photo she sent and she told me about colors she loves and things about the photo that really moved her. I then painted a small painting on paper of my general idea for the work and color palette that I wanted to use. I send a photo of the small painting. Sheri was able to make some adjustments at this point. Yes, she likes overall idea and colors; but need more detail in the mural scene behind the girl. An awesome beginning.

I communicate some more ideas through email and then began to execute the larger painting on canvas. I photographed it during work in progress and sent on the interim images. Sheri was thrilled with the work and the ideas and had just a small tweak or two. Then I finished the work and sent one more photo for approval.  After approval a clear polyurethane coating is brushed on the canvas and then is set to dry. And then of course the dénouement of the story is the double bubble wrap, two cardboard boxes and miles of tape packaging before driving to my nearby UPS store.  (Yes, I could hire an assistant to do the grunt work, but I am too particular to let others work in my space with my stuff.  We don’t say compulsive obsessive or anal retentive. We say eccentric and fabulously interesting. OK?)

And P.S. she gets to pay with a credit or debit card over the phone or mail a check. Easy, Peasy.  USP comes to her door and she then gets to disentangle the fabulous new painting from all the packaging. And the next piece of artwork for her will begin to rest gently in her subconscious, until a new flash of inspiration occurs. Thanks Sheri!

For customers interested in special orders, this story relays the process. I use as many photos as you want to send me, color samples of your room, fabric swatches, and whatever is needed to arrive at perfection.  I do small thumbnail paintings (which I also sign and mail to the client). Then the larger work on canvas and photos back and forth all the way to the end.  And it is fun and creative for me and the client. Try it one day. Take care,, Elie

About A. E. Barnes

I was never interested in painting or drawing when I was little. I wanted to read books and study the night sky. I loved to re-decorate my room, and move the furniture around. I was more interested in cerebral things and studied Philosophy and Comparative Religion at the University of West Florida. That was a long, long time ago. Since then, I have fallen in love with the ideas in anthropology, mythology, and mysticism; especially loving the work of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. I have also been a student of the Western Mysteries for 30 years. I have visited the inner circle at Stonehenge, climbed the brambled ruins of Aros Castle on the Isle of Mull and walked the desert sand of the Pyramids at Giza. My body has felt the hard seat of camel and horse, venturing far and wide to learn whatever I seek. My parents had an art gallery in downtown Daytona Beach, Florida when I was a baby. 1964, to be precise, during that Aquarian Age of intellectual and social reformation. My mother is a famous southern painter, Diana Barnes. My father is an infamous mathematician and story teller. So, I have certainly grown up in a world of ideas and art. We were a little bit of a gypsy family, touring with my mother on painting trips and for art show events. My parents bought some property in Cashiers North Carolina and my family built a house, living in tents and bathing in the Chattooga River for a summer. I have been going to this family cabin since 1972, enjoying the mountain air and deep spiritual comfort of the place. I spent a lot of my childhood in Ft. Walton Beach and Mary Esther; my mother’s family lived there. My brother and I enjoyed an idyllic childhood, searching for pirate treasure in Old Grayton Beach, roaming the Indian Mound in Ft. Walton or sailing our small catamaran on the inter-costal waterway In May of 1989, I had a crazy idea to paint a portrait of my mom riding a pig in her living room, for a Mother’s Day gift. I got some old plywood and primed it white. Then I began to design the portrait in the afternoon. I stayed up all night working and got up early the next day and began again. I loved painting so much that I continued to find boards, painting on them for the rest of the week. Still lifes, interior scenes of my own house and garden, landscapes from my historic neighborhood. I had finished about 20 paintings in a week. I stopped eating or sleeping; I painted everything I saw and began to use wild colors. I bought a set of good oil paints and borrowed some old brushes from my mom. I had always been in love with the French painters, the Fauves . Henry Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck and Andre Derain were my new heroes. I checked out every library book on Impressionism and Expressionism. I covered my walls in posters of paintings by Van Gogh and Gauguin. I was hooked on oil painting like a monkey hooked on chocolate covered bananas. There was no turning back. Being an expert at moving furniture, I re-arranged my house, making the living room into a giant art studio. That was week two of my new found painting career. I vowed on the grave of Henri Matisse that I would paint forever! When I first started painting, the Outsider and Folk Art Movement was getting underway in the Southern states. Because I never studied art, I was lumped into this new and upcoming group. I was accepted to prestigious art shows like the Piedmont Art Festival in Atlanta and shows in Miami, Key West, Dallas, Houston and Washington DC. I loved talking to customers and learning about their homes and interests. I started painting special order work for private homes and corporate headquarters. I was able to place my work in wonderful galleries. I was so lucky to be able to sell paintings, enough to pay my bills. Wow, how time has flown. I can’t believe I have been painting for 23 years! It seems like yesterday when I first picked up the brush. I love oil paints the best; but I also use acrylics some of the time. I learned early on to use the best canvas and paints, which insures a high quality painting that will last for hundreds of years. I have exhibited in lots of art shows, presented work in great art galleries in the US and Mexico and sold paintings to many wonderful people including Rod Stewart and Reggie Jackson. Thank you for buying my art! The creative spirit is the most important element in a person’s life. Your patronage keeps me doing what I love.

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