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.
I 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.
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
The 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:
First came the photo mockup – getting the elements together for my requests – I see a book is involved.
Then the mockup for other design elements – the table, and pear box are there. See the covered wallpaper in the background?
Chris 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).
It 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.
Looks 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.
Being 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 –