I know a woman who has a heart the size of Texas. She’s the kind of person who not only remembers your birthday, but she remembers your spouse’s uncle’s birthday, and how you felt about their birthday gift last year, and offers to help you make lasagna for the family when they get sick. This family friend goes out of her way to do things for other people all the time.
Like many of my clients, she approached me with a gift idea. She wanted an oil painting of her father’s home, which had unfortunately burned down the previous year. Her father had poured his heart and soul into the house and an addition, and they’d lived there for years, so the accident was really tragic for the family. What an incredibly sweet gesture to memorialize the former home for her father.
The tricky part was… we didn’t have a good photo. I don’t mean it was blurry or just shadowy… but there were literally zero photos of the house in the daylight before it caught fire. She gave me one photo from the newspaper of the home’s elaborate Christmas decorations, lit up at night. That photo illuminated the size and lines of the house, but I couldn’t see any color or detail. Then she gave me a few photos from the house after the fire, which they used for insurance, I think… so I could see what color the house had been, and the landscaping, but the shape of the house (as you might expect) was different than it had been pre-fire.
So I made a board of all the images and kind of made things up as I went, “rebuilding” the house on canvas, using paint!
You can see my setup below:
All the pictures were taken in the wintertime, so the trees were bare. Because that tends to look sort of somber, she asked, “Can you change it to springtime?”
Because of the limited source info, this painting was a bit of a puzzle and definitely had its challenges, but it was fun to piece it together for this very kind and special friend and her father.