A Wall To Remember

I love when my brides push me to new limits and challenges. This wall is definitely on my list of favorites. The bride wanted something more than a typical seating chart, so we came up with this concrete wall (built by hand by her fiancé!) for me to paint on.

The wall was "roughed up" with quick layers of concrete, then I went in with a base muted gray.

The beautiful truth about paintings is that what you see when you look at it is rarely what was first painted on. Underneath the "final" layer are all the rest of the layers that came before. This wall was no exception. I painted, covered with gray, painted some more, covered some more. It was an entire process. Every time I would cover a part up, someone would ask, "why?" I didn't have an answer.. it just wasn't it.

But the best part of the process is that moment when I find "it." When I find "it," that's when I go. I paint fast because I need to get it out of me before I lose "it." 

This wall took me about two full days, and I enjoyed every moment of it. By the time I had most of the background done (before the lettering) I realized I stopped using brushes and began using my hands. I took a photo of my hand because I loved it.

It was.. pretty.

It was so great seeing the final wall at the venue. 

Haley Sheffield Photography

Haley Sheffield Photography

Haley Sheffield Photography

Haley Sheffield Photography

Thankful for the opportunity.

K

The Process

The first question from clients is always about the process. No, that's a lie. The first question is about pricing. But that is another topic for another day.

The second question is about the process. How does it work? What are the steps? But I always appreciate that because it means they understand that I'm not a vending machine. My time is valuable and they want to know what my process is. You take that for granted until the day comes when that one person says, "So, I need this by tomorrow. Can you do it?" At that point, I'm thinking, well that's demanding, but what am I going to do? Say no to work?

I've had to remind myself time and time again that I don't work for a boss anymore. I work for me. So that means I am allowed to let myself say no under certain circumstances, but it's never easy (at least for me) to say no to work, so it's a constant battle.

part of a logo sketch for organic baby linens line

part of a logo sketch for organic baby linens line

BRAINSTORMING
My favorite part of the process.
That's the best part! When I'm trying to find the solution to a design problem and ideas are bouncing around in my head faster than I can translate them onto paper so I don't forget. I get so excited at this stage; sometimes I think I'm getting ahead of myself and I have to calm myself down. 

THE PITCH
The worst part? Pitching the ideas to the client. It's not necessarily the worst, but it's definitely where I am most weak. I feel so vulnerable, thinking, what if they don't like this idea? I begin to question and doubt myself about the very ideas that I was so excited about during the brainstorming. I do enjoy the sweet relief, though, when the client loves the pitch and gets excited. It's a roller coaster of emotions, man.

variety hand drawings of a corn chip for a salsa company

variety hand drawings of a corn chip for a salsa company

PROOFING
Sometimes, it's an easy home-run. That's when I grind it out and do exactly what I had pictured in my mind, show the client and they love it. Done!
Other times, it's like a chess game. I go through several proofs because the client isn't sure of what they want and they start asking, well, what about this? What if we did this? I have to use my sixth sense; I feel out what they're looking for and guide them until I hit the right string and bam! Checkmate.

FINALIZE
It's the best feeling when I finish up a job and the client is in love with the final product just as much as I am. It's so rewarding, and I guess that's what keeps me going back to it - I'm addicted. It's such an unstable and emotional way of life, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

No wonder I have trouble falling asleep at night.
I'll end on a quote - it's one of my all-time favorites by my favorite illustrator.

"If there was sadness in this creative world of mine, it was a pleasant sadness. If there were problems, they were humorous problems." - Norman Rockwell

K