So it’s throwback Thursday…okay it’s not ACTUALLY Thursday, I’m not even remotely organized enough to get things together and plan a real throwback Thursday ON Thursday so this is going to be Throwback Friday, and sometimes it could even be throwback Tuesday or Sunday, etc. Ok forget the cutesy titles, I am feeling nostalgic and the weather has been so cold that absolutely none of paintings are drying so throwback we must because I am lacking in new material to show you…Anyway, I was recently talking with the friend whose commissioned painting inspired this bit of writing and was reminded of how much I actually liked that piece. It’s been 9 years or so since I was commissioned by my friend Kelly to paint a beautiful red sunset. Now I’m calling it a commission but I’m not sure it’s the right word as it was actually a trade, the first time I’d ever done something like that actually. Since then I’ve done artwork for people in exchange for services, like photography or massage therapy as well as goods, like homemade wine. Now I can’t say this original trade was in the true spirit of the barter system from days gone by since I didn’t make off with any livestock, but I did get a handmade toque and scarf out of the deal. I’ve always had trouble finding toques that fit right and had never actually owned a scarf before so imagine how happy I was when I made a friend who could knit or crochet or whatever it was that she did (I honestly won’t even try to pretend that I know anything about this art form other than it makes pretty things…anyone who knows me can tell you that my knitting skills definitely leave something to be desired…let’s put it this way, if I tried to make something with knitting needles and yarn I’d more than likely end up PART of my project, a horrible, tragic mess no doubt). Anyway, we’d all just moved up to northern Alberta to a remote community to teach and we were hanging out at someone’s house getting to know each other (seemed like a good plan as we were about to spend the next 10 months teaching and living close to each other in a small fly-in community called Fox Lake). During one of these social gatherings my new (new at the time that is) friend Kelly brought along a scarf (it may have been something else entirely, I just know that there were pointy things and yarn and she was making something nice and comfy looking) which is how we got on to the subject of everyone’s various talents and my oddly shaped head…it was cold and we were bored, hence the odd conversations we tended to have…That was when I offered to make a painting of whatever she wanted in exchange for a handmade toque and scarf, which I still have 9 years later. I also have this exchange to thank for the commissions I received afterward from friends and co workers who saw the painting and liked my work (this was big for me since I’d never been paid for my art before). This was sort of the beginning of my artistic career if you will. Without this experience I don’t think I’d have the confidence to write about or show anyone else my work, let alone sell it.