Painting: Circus

"Look out of any window, any morning, any evening, any day.
Maybe the sun is shining, birds are singing,
No rain is falling from a heavy sky.
What do you want me to do, to do for you to see you through?
For this is all a dream we dreamed one afternoon, long ago."
The Grateful Dead

36x36" canvas, acrylics

work-in-process shot

Out of nowhere, quite unexpectedly, I painted a large canvas as a gift for a friend for a special occasion. It's a risk, to paint for someone you know, to paint a gift, because you put your heart into your work and try not to let the fact that you are making it for someone constrain energy or color or style. This painting came together in about 5 days, working in the kitchen with a drop cloth and other necessities to protect the area from errant drips and sprays. At one point I stepped in a blob of pthalo blue and walked that around the kitchen. It's funny because I can look at it in a certain mood and say it's just a mess on canvas, and then in another mood quite adore it. I struggle with this feeling that I should put something "real" on top of the abstract marks, but when I try to do that it all goes downhill. I love how I learn new things with each painting and I love to incorporate what I learned in the last paintings, without even realizing. 

Have you created art as a gift? How did it go? Did you find yourself working differently because it was a gift - putting greater thought into the work, or getting stuck? Is it easier to gift artwork that you have already finished, or create artwork with the intention of gifting it to someone?