I make most of my living these days off commissions of various kinds. Pet portraits, non-pet portraits, record covers, poster designs, book reviews, and a bunch of other kinds I’ve chosen to forget. Sometimes though someone wants a picture I might’ve painted without being asked. That was the case with the one above. It was commissioned by a woman who’s moving out of state and wanted a keepsake of her neighborhood. It happens to be in my neighborhood and I know someone who lives in the building. All paintings have a backstory, a narrative known only to the painter. I’ve always wrestled with how much to say about the significance or meaning of the subjects I choose to paint; the trouble being that the artist’s words tend to dictate how a viewer will interpret the picture rather than using their own eyes and minds. Oftentimes I’d rather know nothing of an artist’s intentions or hopes. The words feel like a crutch, a way to prop up mediocre work. Other times a bit of explanation enhances the experience. In any case, I might’ve painted this without being asked.