“I loved adding all the extra little details that make this commission truly personal"
Choosing artwork for your home is a personal experience. For some, having a personalised element such as a dedication, or a customised edition, can make it all the more special. If you have a particular vision, however, then Westover Gallery could arrange an original commission for you by an artist that you adore. Which is exactly what happened last year when we had a very special request for artist Amy Louise...
The talented Amy is well loved for her fun, vivid animal portraits full of character. Before Christmas, her fabulous mixed media flamingos caught the eye of our client Joanne, who was looking for a bold contemporary painting for her home. Obviously Amy’s work was perfect, but Joanne had an extra special something in mind. So we got straight in touch with the artist herself.
“I was asked to create a very unique commission depicting a family of flamingos,” says artist Amy Louise. “Each flamingo was to represent the character of each member in Joanne’s family. I was sent images of glasses, handbags and football boots to add to the characters.”
Having had a packed out exhibition at Westover Gallery in 2018, Amy had worked on commissions before. But how did she feel about this one?
“I was a little nervous when I was first asked to do this commission actually. Excited to do something so different and new but nervous to capture each character exactly as Joanne had imagined it. My animals are full of character anyway, but to add props and the personalities of actual people to my paintings was very new to me.”
So where does an artist start with a commission, especially one so personal?
“I always start with a drawing, I'll either go straight onto the board with a very simple pencil outline or I'll do a paper sketch first. For Joanne’s commission I did a paper sketch first so I knew exactly where all the items were going beforehand.
"Once I had everything in place compositionally, I painted the background colour onto the board. The clients chose the colour they wanted the flamingos to sit on, a beautiful dark blue to contrast the pink and the bright orange wig! Then I got to work placing each character in position and started painting the first layers."
Just how do you capture your personality in flamingo form? With a few of your favourite features, of course!
“The details included, Jo's Mulberry handbag, a pair of black thick rimmed glasses for Peter, a bright orange wig to depict Harriet's lovely Auburn locks, a halo for 'perfect Pippa' and Nancy's favourite blue football boots. Once all the painting was finished I then added my black drizzle line to pick out the details and finally the gloss resin finish.”
While Amy added the finishing touches to the painting, all of us at Westover were excited to see it in person. As soon as it arrived it was hung in the viewing room for Joanne and family to admire Amy's work. But what did they think?
“We all LOVE it,” said Joanne. “Thank you to Westover Gallery for facilitating it and to Amy Louise for being so accommodating."
We were thrilled with the family's reaction, and were even happier when we saw the final results in their lovely home!
With more of Amy's limited edition prints due this year, will our flamingo family have any influence on Amy’s work?
“I'm always looking for new animals to add character to and I have been greatly inspired by this commission so you can expect to see some more props in my paintings to humanise my animals that little bit more. I'm also experimenting with different backgrounds and finishes - so lots of new things happening in my studio!”
We can’t wait to see more of her work in 2019, and look out for details of an exhibition here later this year.
“Westover clients are truly inspiring and I hope to be welcomed back for many years to come…’ says Amy. “…I can't wait to be back in Bournemouth!”
To speak to one of our friendly Art Consultants visit our Bournemouth gallery in person, telephone 01202 297 682, or Contact Us here.