Larger Than Life: Giant Agave

by Athena Mantle in Hot Off The Easel!

A Prickly Agave Commission

This winter I’ve been working on commissions for a collector in Scottsdale, Arizona.  They were looking for some large paintings of agave for their new home.  
When I am doing a commission for someone, the first thing we do is select the size and a general subject for the painting. In this case, I knew they wanted agave and once they selected the 36″ x 60″ size in horizontal format I created a selection of possible subjects from my photos and cropped them to be the correct ratio for the canvas. I put together an idea board for the client to review and give me feedback on what they like and we go from there. Although I’m using photos, there must be some room given for the artistic interpretation that occurs on my end to make the painting.
Here is a photo of the first agave I painted for them.
Prickly 2 
 “Prickly 2″ 36″ x 60” Oil on Canvas
My process when working from photos includes removing background elements so that the focus is purely on the subject and enhancing the color so it really pops.
They were pleased with the result and commissioned 2 more to be painted as a diptych. This was a fun challenge. I had to modify my easel to accommodate the two large paintings side by side. You can get an idea of the scale of these paintings when you see me standing in front of them. 
In the Limelight 
 Athena Mantle with “In the Limelight 1 & 2” total size 5’x6′ Oil on Canvas
I received this very nice letter from the collectors after they received these paintings. 
Dear Athena,
Have just opened your paintings now and absolutely love them – they look magnificent above our formal sofa…Thank you so much, we are completely thrilled.  Also very impressed that you managed to complete them in time!
Again, many thanks and very best wishes,
J. and S. 
Here you can see them in their new home.
In the Limelight 
It made my day to get such a nice letter.  It has been wonderful working with them and am thrilled that they have ordered 2 more paintings!  It’s been a fun challenge doing these large paintings and am looking forward to doing more. So keep your eye on my site for more large paintings! 

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