Bikes and Horses – A commissioned piece.

This is my second time ever being commissioned to create a piece of art. Very exciting. I’ve hesitated calling myself an artist because it seems like you have to sell your art to be considered an artist… but now, I give myself permission. I am officially an artist. Woohoo.

The recipients of this commissioned piece will be a couple who are getting married this summer. The groom’s sister, Michelle, an old coworker of mine, reached out asking me to make a world map as a wedding gift. He’s an engineer who loves mountain biking; she’s a veterinarian who loves horses. They both love traveling. Combining bikes and horses at first felt like a challenge but as I got to thinking and sketching, a ton of ideas came to me.

I sent these sketches to Michelle and explained to her my ideas.

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I’m going to hold off telling you what idea we’re leaning towards (you’ll have to check back as I get started and post my progress), but I will share that I got a bunch of old rusty bike parts and found some mini horseshoes online and am ready to get started. Also, Michelle sent me a photo of some art that her brother previously had commissioned – love the colors, graphic elements and distressed textures. Great inspiration.

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“Maybe someday you’ll go there.”

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As mentioned in my last post, I came to Taos, New Mexico with the hopes of making art and being creative. My sister, Emilie is 7 months pregnant and has a 19 month old toddler, Lyla. Back home she’s working on Lyla’s new big girl room so that she can get her nursery ready for their new baby boy arriving in June. I asked her if she would like a world map for Lyla’s new room and knowing the feminine and delicate theme of the room, I suggested one of my quilt maps on wood. I make these maps with little squares of scrapbook paper that match the color of the room. The paper fills the continents and then I glue them on to light wood which gives a nice rustic look and the grain of the wood is like ripples in the oceans. I paint the whole thing with Modge Podge and then having it framed, exposed without glass, is the finishing touch.

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Emilie took it upon herself to go buy the perfect paper and patterns that she loved and brought them on our trip. I brought the sheet of paper with the world map traced on it. The dining table at our rental place, made from a reclaimed barn door, was the perfect place to get working. It was reminiscent of my work area at home. Sunlight shines in from the floor to ceiling windows behind me and I can see expansive views of the surrounding mountains. I love that I can feel inspired in a place so far from home. When I get back home I’ll work with the wood and deliver the art to Emilie so she can pick the perfect frame to go with the room’s decor.

I’m so happy I get to make art for my niece. She’s too young to appreciate it now but as she grows up, I imagine her mom and dad pointing to places on the map and saying “maybe someday you’ll go there.” See, part of my secret plan with these maps is to subliminally foster future world travelers. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.