In March 2023 I was approached by an acquaintance I had never met in person to create a custom commission for their home. I was thrilled for the opportunity (and terrified at the same time). The only instructions were "a bear on as big a canvas as you can". We settled on 48" x 48" and then my challenge began. What pose should I paint? The whole bear or a part? As this was a large, square canvas, I felt a full bear would end up mostly just being a landscape painting. I wanted this bear to be in your face, literally. It turns out painting the head of a grizzly bear larger than life is extremely challenging; doing it with a palette knife, even harder.
I went through tube after tube of paint (10 in total), layer after layer. I knew my client liked abstract colours so I added magentas and ultramarine blues in the background and then pure oranges and cadmium yellows. I chose an unusual head angle instead of straight on in order to add interest to the painting. Sculpting this painting was a joy even though I had to use a step ladder at some points. I have discovered I love painting large. Unfortunately not everyone has the wall space for big paintings but they definitely have the most impact. I hope my client enjoys this one of a kind piece for a lifetime and I am grateful for the opportunity to have created "Awake".