I received a request for a custom painting to be given as a birthday gift. I usually stay away from custom jobs since they can turn into time-consuming re-dos as the customer asks for changes and adjustments. As hard as I try I can't read the client's mind and too often they're not certain what they want.
But this was a special client. Family. My daughter and son-in-law (who I love as my own son--maybe better since I didn't know him as an adolescent) wanted to give a painting to said SIL's mom of their family vacationing in Southern Utah where she lives.
They gave me some photos they took at Arches National Park.
This is a shot of their family at Delicate Arch, except two kids are missing and Mom is taking the photo so she's not in the picture either.
So I put together a sketch of the whole family at the location and emailed it to my daughter for approval.
Then the real work began.
After finishing the background of the hills and mountains behind the arch, I began adding layers of watercolor to bring out the details of the foreground.
I built up more layers while leaving blank the area where the family would be.
Finally I was ready to paint in the people. I sent an email to let my daughter know I was still working on the piece since the birthday was getting close and I still needed to send it to them for framing.
Finally the painting was finished.
Through the magic of art all six members of the family were posing at the base of Delicate Arch and ready to become a birthday present for Grandma S.
Daughter and Son-In-Law were excited to see the finished product and had it framed. It took a while to get it shipped to Southern Utah, but I finally saw her post on Facebook of a photo she took of her present. Mission accomplished.