If you read my last post, you understand why this painting had to be done.
I spent Christmas, 2008 with my friend Tim and his family. It is his niece that was the subject of my 9th & 10th paintings. Both of her parents were there (along with Elizabeth of course). I had sent -via email - pictures of the completed paintings. They of course showed the ribbons. They told me how they had bragged about the paintings to friends. I was already feeling guilty about not giving the portraits to them. As usual, we took, everyone took, tons of photos.
A week or so went by and I kept feeling guilty. So I started looking at the Christmas photos. I found one that just spoke to me. I had to paint it. I had to try and capture the look on her face. I don't know what to call this look, it just was special to me. I'll show the reference photo so you see what I mean.
See? She has something definite on her mind!
So although during this time I was also working on what became the 13th painting (and my first commission), I started this one. I work in oils, so although I spent a lot of time on the 13th painting, I had to keep letting the paint dry, so I had time here and there to work on it. I also still took care of the elderly couple from my church, this took quite a bit of time as well. I mention these things because this one seamed to be pretty easy for me. In other words, not as much work. In some ways it is easier to paint something you care about then if you don't. I care about Izzy. I care about her parents. It sounds bad, but I really didn't care about the kids in the commission painting. So this painting was easier than that one for me. It went fairly quickly. Not as quickly as the 9th and 10th (3 weeks) but by the time I next saw the family (St Patrick's Day get together - they are Irish), I had the painting completed and I was much happier with it than the first two of them.
I have found that an old pizza box is just about the most perfect way of transporting paintings safely. So the morning of St Patricks Day, I arrived at the party with a pizza box in hand. It was a pot-luck type get-together, so I was immediately teased about bringing a pizza to St Paddy's day! I laughed and told them the real food was coming on my next trip into the house, put the box out of the way and went back out to the car. When I had finished unloading the car and had done my rounds of saying hello to everyone, I found Mary (Izzy's mom). I carried the pizza box over to her and she gave me a very strange look. I told her "I have something for you." She still had that puzzled look on her face, but followed me to a nearby table where I could put down the box and open it. I opened the box and looked at her face. It was priceless! She started shaking and then started crying! She yelled for her husband "Bob! Bob! Come in here! You have to see this!" Mary then through her arms around me and gave me a big hug! When Bob (her husband) came in he looked at it, looked at me, then looked again at the painting. Mary said " It's for us". He then gave me a big hug. They both said "thank you".
All day at the party, Mary kept calling people over to look at the painting. In fact, I believe she spent most of the day looking at it. I decided that day I had to keep painting. I loved the feeling that their reaction (and the reaction the owners of the 13th painting) gave me. It really is amazing to me that I can produce something that gives that strong of an impact to someone. So without any further delays, this is the 14th painting...
Just a quick note in regards to the addition of the chair in the finished photo. After I had been painting it for a while, I noticed I had the portrait too low on the canvas. For this reason I added the chair.