A collaboration between Catholic patron and artist demonstrates how even the decor of the office of a law firm can contribute to the New Evangelization
Just before Christmas I was contacted by Ray Tittman who is founding partner of the California office of law firm Edison, McDowell & Hetherington. Ray, a Catholic, wanted a large oil painting for his office. He told me he wanted something appropriate for this modern office block in downtown Oakland (the Kaiser Building about a 100 yards from the new cathedral). This meant, he thought, that it should have a contemporary feel to it, but at the same time he wanted something that would be consistent with the Faith and which would in some way bear witness to it. He didn’t feel that the modern art he was being presented with was explicit enough, however, as he put it to me, he thought that to go to the other extreme and have a six foot painting of Our Lady would not be right either.
I suggested that I visit him in California and have a look at the office and the color schemes being used; after talking to him and considering his personal tastes I would come up with some suggestions. I enjoyed this part of the process very much. Ray had a good sense of what he wanted and what would suit his clients and the other members of the office, but at the same he was open to ideas. The final result therefore really is the product of collaboration, I feel.
What we came up with was the idea of an abstracted landscape with a color scheme that would set a mood for the room in harmony with the existing colors of the walls and furniture. The would be sufficient focus for it to be recognizably a natural scene, but it was important that this wasn’t too detailed – if it was it would distract. After all, this picture is not meant to be the main attraction, so to speak, but rather a support for Ray in his good work as a lawyer. It was vital, we agreed that in order to fulfill its function that the painting should be beautiful.
Compositionally, through the arrangement of the parts within it, it should point beyond itself to Ray at his desk. Then I suggested, he should discretely place in his personal space a small piece of obviously (Read More)