Painting The Wife

OK, OK, I know this is a renovation blog – but when you just physically can’t keep up with all of you wall moving, closet organizing, and bathroom fixture refreshing maniacs out there – what can I do?

So this is my best effort given the circumstances – but it does involve painting – that’s close enough, no?

When I first got married, I was just a few weeks away from my 50th birthday. Even in my advanced bachelor years, I was fortunate enough to win the heart of my beautiful wife, Francia.

Francia Wedding DayI knew that one of the first things I would do as an art dealer/married man was to commission a portrait of my wife. In my mind, it was the perfect way to combine my love for art, and the love for her.

Being anal about stuff like this I decided the artist and my wife would end up hating me if I micromanaged this project. So my requests for the portrait were that he create it the way he thought best and I wouldn’t see the painting until it was completed. I had a few specific requests, but the rest was up to the artist and Francia.

Chris Thomas


Self Portrait – Chris Thomas

The artist I chose was Chris Thomas an extremely talented professional artist that I have worked with for many years. Although he is nationally known and exhibits throughout the country, he still lives across the river in Henderson, Kentucky. I guess you can live where ever you want when you have that kind of talent.

I requested her portrait to be more like a fine work of art and less like a traditional portrait – no gazing out from the canvas allowed.

I Love You Mona

Mona_LisaThe other elements I asked for were that he incorporate the following into the finished painting: The number ‘6’ – for our wedding day of March 6th.
A full moon – as it was on our honeymoon night.
A Pear shaped box – which was made by an Indianapolis artisan that held our wedding rings.
A white rose – that was in Francia’s wedding bouquet.
A carved table – a possession of Mr. John Streetman III- the past Director of the Evansville Museum. John was gracious enough to be my Best Man, and allow our wedding to be held in his beautiful townhouse.
And some detailed stuff – because he’s really good at that.

Here’s how we painted the wife:

Francia painting photo mockupFirst came the photo mockup – getting the elements together for my requests – I see a book is involved.

Background elementsThen the mockup for other design elements – the table, and pear box are there. See the covered wallpaper in the background?

Francia's painting in preogressChris Thomas with painting in progress. He paints mainly from life, so my poor wife didn’t realize she’d be standing there for so many hours (several sessions).

in-progress-detailIt is amazing to see artists work. I’ve watched him paint before and the color blocks look like this for most of the painting – It’s OK, but you wonder if they’ve lost their touch.

Let’s breakdown the list of requests.

fran-painting-diagramLooks like everything’s on the list – and he threw in a wedding dress too! One thing is he originally left out was the wallpaper design. He’s a really busy painter and he was reluctant to add the wallpaper in the background. But after some persuasion he decided to add the detail.

Francia painting closeupFrancia Finished PaintingBeing in the gallery business, I have hundreds of works of art and antiques, but this by far is my most valuable possession. The memories and symbolism, the connections with the artist and friends, all frozen in time on the surface of linen. It is to me the tangible token of the intangible – of love and friendship. Chris, if you’re reading this – thank you old friend.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Oh, here are a couple of new paintings by Chris Thomas –

Pear-and-Emerging-GrapesPink-Peonies-with-Green

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31 thoughts on “Painting The Wife

    • Thank you so much, Allison. I really appreciate your note. I am enjoying your blog and your very interesting reno – that’s a big job! Looks great! I’ll be following along.

  1. Pingback: I’ve Been Leibstered and it’s Yom Kippur | The House Called Abe

    • Hi guys! Great thought – I guess I did get ‘renovated’ or it feels that way sometimes. Thanks for the kind words. I sure enjoy reading your progress over at PlanetDwell.

  2. That is such a beautiful portrait and a beautiful post. To my mind the purpose of blogging is not just about sharing the actual “doing” of the renovation or remodelling, but also a little about ourselves and what makes us do what we do. The human element is what makes all these projects so interesting to follow. Hope you are getting more mobile again too!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. You are so right about the ‘who’ over the ‘what’. We all are so different in our lives and motivations. I am very interested in how your renovation unfolds in France. What a beautiful challenge! As I have a ‘baby’ of a house built in 1935, i still think about the workers, the families that have touched this house in one fashion or another. I can only imagine the stories your home could tell. I’m up on two feet – so progress is being made. Thanks again for your note.

  3. Hello… what a beautiful portrait. I love the story of its creation and all your specifications surrounding the actual setting and objects. So interesting.

    • Thanks for the kind words Lynda. I do have beauty all around me. I always feel so blessed to work with beautiful, thoughtful things every day. Art (and renovations) are my life.

    • Hey!
      Well, my wife is originally from the Philippines by way of Germany and Myanmar – so we go back to the Philippines and Thailand from time to time. We’ll be back next year. I want to gt to China this next visit.

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