I was recently approached by a very sweet couple for a commission piece; the husband wanted to give his wife a painting for her birthday. Delightful, right? It gets better. The idea behind the piece was for me to use a book they both loved, The Time Traveler’s Wife, as inspiration for the painting. What a thoughtful and romantic gift! The above photo is a detail shot of the final piece.

I couldn’t wait to get started. This commission was perfect for me, as it combined my passion for reading and art in such a meaningful way. It felt like a school assignment (in a good way! I loved school!). The process of creating this piece turned out to be different from anything I had ever done before. Because I wanted to ensure that the painting interpreted the novel in a way that was true to them and their love for the story, it became a collaboration, with lots of communication and ideas flying back and forth. It took some time to nail down the final concept, and in the end, I think it turned out beautifully:

The thread through the labyrinth

encaustic, mixed media on wood, 12″ x 12″

The story centers on a husband and wife, Henry and Clare, and tells how their relationship endures despite the difficulties of the husband’s time travel. There is a wealth of symbolism in this piece: the maps (of Chicago, where much of the story occurs), the music (important to many of the characters), the text (from a letter from Henry to Clare), and the squares that act as the snapshots of their lives, together and apart, due to time travel. (I am trying not to give anything away that would ruin the story for those of you who have not read it, but if you have, I think you will recognize the allusions and meaning immediately.)

The idea for this bird was inspired by the artwork that Clare creates in the story, and it represents the purity and beauty of their bond, which, to me, was the overall message of the novel. This was my first tiny little encaustic sculpture! What do you think?

It was such a pleasure to create this painting, knowing how much this book meant to the couple who commissioned it, and I was even happier to learn that it was warmly received. :)