anne4bags My art work

Creating for someone else

As well as painting larger scale botanic art works, like the Cullen pallidum that was recently shown in the exhibition, I love to create smaller drawings and paintings. These are usually of things I am fascinated by, objects from the natural world. I have told you about my shells, some painted in watercolour, some in soluble graphite.

Usually I potter around with my materials, letting my creativity flow as much as possible. If I am happy, I will put them up for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sometimes though I am asked to create something specific and I love working on these commissions. I enjoy the challenge of creating an art work that meets the image in someone else’s mind. There may be a specific photo they would like me to use. They may like something already in the shop but with different colours. For the latest commission my client had the frames so my images had to be a precise size.

I am usually quite relaxed about commissions, because I always make it clear that there is no obligation to buy. My image may not match up with the one in the client’s mind. That’s fine. I can pop it into the shop, and it may appeal to someone else. However, it hasn’t happened often, because I try to keep them abreast of what I am doing, sending images of what I am creating. Also I like to give them options, and this gives me a chance to play with different effects. Like these bats.

I had never drawn bats before, but I was happy to try. I love gently working with graphite and that was my first choice. Then I thought about having a go with ink stippling — little ink dots that build up to create the tone. The customer couldn’t choose and bought both! I was especially delighted as he was a bat researcher 🙂

Another customer asked me to create a drawing of a black cockatoo feather. Isn’t this just the most stunning feather?

Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013


And another wanted a feather for a tattoo. I would love to know if she ever used it.

Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013
Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013

As I mentioned, occasionally the person doesn’t buy. I was asked to create some watercolour oyster shells, like the ones already in my shop , but bigger and with less purple. I don’t know why she didn’t buy them, but I am quite happy to have them in my shop. Someone else may just desire an oyster shell painting with a little less purple!

4 replies on “Creating for someone else”

The bat drawings are very good, and that is high praise from someone who detests bats 🙂 The feathers are quite striking, I also hope that feather ended up as a tattoo, it’s impressive. I like the simplicity of the lines and the organic curves. The oyster shells are interesting -quite curious about the purple!


Anne, you are such a talent. What extraordinary work. Both of the bats are stunning. It’s easy to see why the researcher bought both. Good for you for taking on new and challenging work as well. I love the feather for the tattoo. You take the simplest things from nature and enhance them with extraordinary skill.

I’m stunned that someone would commission a work, then not pay up. That makes me sad. I hope they make them into the hands of a patron that will appreciate them for what they are: stunning.


Thank you Alys. Your words mean a lot to me.
It has only been once or twice that someone hasn’t bought the commissioned work. So I am satisfied that most of the time I have been able to match up what I can do with want they want. That makes me feel good. As well, I like to give the option of not buying because I want people to buy my work because they really love it, not because they have to. Fortunately I am not relying on my art work to pay the bills. My attitude may be very different if that were the case. 😉


You have a great attitude about this. You’re right of course that art is not something to be foisted upon someone. I’m just puzzled that when a request is made by someone knowing your style and approach and with something so specific in mind that they would not want it in the end.


Nothing like a good natter, so let's have a chat!

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