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DAny artist who has ever done a commission knows it can be a stressful meeting of the minds. But Margot and I have been HUGELY lucky in this department. Our Sassy Feet patrons have been a delight so far (ha ha!), and my most recent commission was no exception.

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Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild member, Pat Oakstar, attended our October event in Campbell, CA, and brought along a huge, funky, one-of-a-kind leather shoulder bag she’d bought in San Francisco’s Haight-Asbury district about 25 years ago. This bag was a real work of craftsmanship, all the way down to its heavy brass-clasp hardware. And it was BIG.

Pat told me she knew three things for sure about this bag: She never used it, she wanted me to paint it, and she thought it would look cool decorated with insects. The rest was up to me.

Some of you longtime readers will remember Pat from another custom excursion I blogged about a couple years ago. For those who remember (and those who clicked the link to read it), you know Pat’s not timid! She’s out there, bold and vibrant. Definitely not afraid of color! I was excited to get started.

I settled on dragonflies as the main theme (with Pat’s approval, of course). There would be three large bugs: one in cool-tone colors, one in warm colors, and one in green/gold tones. All would be soaring on a swirling, glittering wind. I would also put a line of various insect silhouettes marching up and down the strap. Margot has crowned me the one “who can paint things that look like things,” so I began by lightly sketching my design right on the bag with a ball point pen.

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I painted each dragonfly using  a huge range of Lumiere colors including Pearl Blue, Indigo, Pearl Turquoise, Pearl Violet, Citrine, Metallic Olive, Sunset Gold, Metallic Bronze, Burgundy, Pearl Magenta, Metallic Russet, and Crimson.

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I took a quick progress photo for Pat, who was very pleased but said, “I love your artwork. It’s beautiful!  In fact, it’s almost too beautiful for that rustic hunk of leather. Never mind the handle. The ‘crazy’ in me wants MORE bugs on the front. Maybe a swarm??? You’re the artist, though, and I leave it up to you completely.”

I thought, More bugs it is! Since we were no longer doing the line of marching insects on the strap, I figured the swarm Pat wanted could be silhouettes of dragonflies in various sizes.

I also did a freehand design of Sparkly Silver Glitter It! Glaze to serve as the gusting swirls of wind. It was a good choice since it would be translucent when dry and you could see the color of the original leather behind all the tiny particles of glitter.

Here are the final, not-from-a-cell-phone pics:

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I had so much fun creating this! I’m very pleased Pat was as happy with the results as I am. I cannot wait for the next creative adventure she takes me on. I’ll “travel” with her anytime!

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