Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Perhaps a commissioned cowbell tolls for you!  

I know it may sound like I'm bragging here this morning, but think it takes some skill as an artist to do a commission piece from a small photograph.  I've heard horror stories about artists trying to use a tiny, faded, wrinkled black and white photo of grandma to capture everything that the family remembers of her years after she has passed away.  I can only imaging how very hard it would be to make a realistic portrait on a canvas under these circumstances.  My commission experience wasn't anything so drastic but I was asked to paint a commission bell of of a beloved pet, in this case a horse and transfer that likeness to the small 4"x 6" metal surface of a cowbell. This morning I decided to share with you my experience.

Painting so many of these cowbells have given me some valuable practice and I think, just like consistently drawing in my sketchbook, these small artworks are also giving me valuable practice as an artist.  Painting small can be a real challenge because I naturally prefer to paint much larger. Today, I can report that I'm feeling much more confident at painting in general and I can almost paint chickens in my sleep. 

Up to this point, my cowbell commissions have been pretty non-specific and rather more a general theme such as "Can you paint me a rooster, a cow or a sandhill crane?"  I also get request for certain flowers such as the Texas blue bonnets, lavenders or sunflowers.  This particular commission request was much more stressful because this is not just any horse but the clients horse "Lady" and I had to get it right.  

I was a bit nervous during that time that I sent the initial photo of the finished bell to her Facebook message thread to the time that I received the "I LOVE IT!" reply.  Let me just say I gave a huge sigh of relief because this bell probably took me as long to paint as it would have taken to paint maybe 2 or 3 bells of a different subject.  

I am happy to report that this bell is today packed up and waiting for the scheduled postal pickup, soon to be a fixture in it's new home in Ponca City, Oklahoma.  As an artist, there is a great deal of satisfaction to take a project, even if it is as small a cowbell, from start to completion.  

Please contact me at Julie Townsend Studio Contact Page if you might be interested having me do a commission cowbell for you.  They make GREAT gifts!

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