Around a year ago, I was privileged enough to obtain a large-format commission slot from one of my favourite artists and favourite people. Through her Patreon, in support of her amazing 4-year run podcast (now-shuttered to make room for focus on her trauma-informed coaching business), I secured the commission slot and started the conversations. Knowing delivery wouldn’t likely be sooner than the next 12 months, we settled into some high-level discussions about size and possibilities.
I knew we’d need something sizable for the space I had in mind, as our walls in the main living space of our house tower up to about 24 feet high. This leaves a very grand but very blank canvas to work with. On the main wall, as you may recall, we stumbled into a piece by a local artist through a mutual friend who was displaying it in his gallery. At 10’x12’ the rug we acquired was the perfect size for part of the space… and we’ve LOVED it ever since we got it hung. But, it also left a relatively blank area on the open staircase. This area, while not as expansive, would still dwarf most all traditional canvas sizes. Plus, we tend to only put art on our walls that has some deeper connection to us or our families…. So we’ve been on the lookout for that perfect thing ever since moving into the Chateau.
Knowing the challenges of the space, a commission started to make real sense. It would allow us to set the right parameters for the space, provide a patronage to an artist we know, and collaborate on the subject matter and all other details to get the perfect piece. I had no idea how happy we’d be with the end result!
Brandi initially had a few questions once I gave here the dimension constraints and a few photos of the specific location and surrounding room to understand the context where the piece would hang. And while she will call it a collaboration, and I use the same word for shorthand, it was really me tossing over some very ethereal and vague feelings to help guide. We talked about the property and how I’d like the painting to tie into the natural world around us, how the sunset light shows were always amazing, but also a bit about our normal daily lives in the space and the property. I wanted to keep an specific direction of subject matter out of the conversation and really focus more on the feeling and desires for the evocative part of the painting than any concrete specifics. I wanted to see what inspired Brandi and where her own artistic imagination took her paints when put to canvas. So, for me it was really less of a collaboration and more of giving Brandi an idea and vibe and the ultimate freedom to run with whatever she desired.
I had no idea what she was working on for at least the first 6-8 months. Then, one day, close to the finish line, she started to send some sneak peaks at the progress. And, friends, let me tell you… from the get-go everything she sent was amazing and an improvement on the last. My excitement built and built until the day of delivery. Now, its no small task to ship three 48×24 canvases, but she did so with immaculate care and they arrived completely unscathed.
As I tore through the bubble wrap and began to expose each separate piece of what would ultimately be an enourmous triptych, my smile grew and grew, and my heart swelled with pride for what Brandi had created and how she’d grown as an artist through this process. Her personality shines through the piece alongside our own that all came out in all the big and little details… Like our Stag rug, Brandi’s “People Watching” triptych is part of our family now, as much a character of Chateau Ennui as the rest of us.
The design choices she made, balanced with practicality of shipping, means the triptych mimics both the windows that it sits immediately below, as well as the windows on the wall opposite of where it hangs. Three rows of windows, taller than they are wide, match the reflective design of the triptych which acts as a mirror of sorts, reflecting the subject matter outside those very same windows. From the dear, bees, and racoon to the subtly but not-quite-hidden UFOs and Sasquatch making his way across the snowy mountain, to the mushrooms and real moss element giving the piece a fun depth and unexpected texture, every piece of the painting is a reflection of life in and around the Chateau.
Truly, Brandi is an absolute artist and has provided a family heirloom for us in a way I’d never have been able to articulate or ask for if I tried to direct a commission with any clarity or precision beyond basic parameters of size. Thank you deeply, Brandi, for such an amazing piece of you.
So, enjoy the photos of Brandi’s contribution to Chateau Ennui’s character list: