Custom Art Portrait: Sun
by Anne Kostecki
When I received an email request from Jeff, he told me that he was excited to find a custom artist who also was a Wash U. graduate like himself. He wanted an interesting piece for his wife Annette, who is a fan of CBS Sunday Morning TV show. He said that the show always features a biographical segment with a customized sun artwork related to the person featured. He wanted to create a special sun artwork for her, featuring her favorite things and a resemblance to her cheerful face.
He gave me a packet of sun art examples from the show, as well as photos of his wife and her favorite things. The images included images of her house, Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, her family, tulips, other flowers, and her scarves. I was unsure at the beginning how to approach this subject, but I saw images of Enlightenment-era astronomical maps and esoterica, and was inspired by images of wise faces inside of the sun. I sketched a jig for the sun's rays, and wanted to create a flowing, asymmetrical composition of her favorite tulips, a scarf, and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
I chose to primarily paint the sun in shades of warm gold and ochre, with the flowers, scarf, and beach as pops of representational color. Originally, Jeff wanted the background to remain white, but after seeing it, we decided a rich warm red would complement the reds of the flowers. And, I think it created a regal, coat-of-arms look as well. The clients were so happy with the finished piece, and took a photo of Annette with her very own sun.