Along with cards, greens, candles and lights come other things in the first week of advent. Yes, crafts are back in full force. My guess is this year is going to be an especially crafty year because so many people are without work. I know that I'm going to be making a lot more this year. Already I've started my paintings (which unfortunately I cannot post pictures of until they are gifted... sorry guys).
My current projects are actually a combination of commission and presents. Most people really don't have space for a lot of hanging wall pieces so it is important that they request a painting (and hint at a given size). Really, most people would rather get something they need (which requires purchasing something) or something small they can put somewhere easily without too much fanfare. Short of someone coming right out and telling you, yes, please paint me something for one of these three places in my house, you really shouldn't find a large canvas to give your friend.
Of course, there is also the problem of technique, skill, inherent ability, on top of the question as to whether or not your painting style matches that of your friend's preferences. If you suck, have clashing style with the person you are gifting, or are unsure of their taste, do not paint something for the person. It would be cruel to yourself and to them. Why do I mention this? Because I have been one of those people who has been gifted with awful art that doesn't fit my style or taste. It is abysmal. On the other hand, I have also been gifted with the coolest set of original ceramic dishes EVER (thanks Bonnie and Dave!) which I use regularly and brag about every chance I get. The difference is a matter of taste/style convergence.
This brings us back to the art itself - once you have determined your friend is a good person to give your art to, the preparation process begins. Where will they hang this piece? What kind of other art do they have in their home? What colors are represented? Are there any shapes that recur? Once you have a plan in place for your piece, it is time to get painting. It's a good idea to plan ahead for a craft or art gift, because the time it takes to finish such a piece (anywhere from a few hours to several weeks). You can always have too much time and be fine, but if you're cutting it close, you may not finish your gift before it should be given and giving gifts late is let's face it, tacky.
So your piece is done. It's almost time to give that gorgeous painting away. How do you give it? Well there are a few options. If it is a framed piece, it's a lot easier to wrap than if it is not. This is because you don't have nearly the risk of damaging the canvas itself in transit while wrapped. You can always give it with a pretty bow tied around the painting and attach a nice card, or you can go minimalistic and give the painting away as it is, just the painting itself. I've seen and done all of those. This year, because of the size of the pieces in question I myself will likely go on the lighter side of wrapping.
So, good luck with your crafty gift-giving. Today I have five paintings more than half-way finished, so I'm on a roll. If you want to give a painting to someone who you know would appreciate some specially made art let me know. I would love to paint something for you! Despite the risks of crafty gifts, there really is nothing nicer than getting something specially made for you as a present. It beats store bought gifts every time, if only because of the time, effort and thought that went into making it (and that's true for me even if I don't like the art or it doesn't fit well in my home.).
That said, get crafting! You only have 4 weeks!