I moved to Seattle 6 years ago and the very first friend I made is a woman named Amy. Oh wait, I’m supposed to change the names to protect identities! Ok, I’ll refer to her as ‘Shmamy’. No that’s weird I’m not doing that. Gah! This is supposed to be a post about art and friendship and how I had to start over halfway through her custom art collage pieces because I got myself into a hot mess!

(FYI: none of these photos are of the hot mess. I have this thing called pride that prevents me from posting the hot messes).

Ok, let me start at the beginning. Amy and her entire family spent 3 weeks traveling Germany, France and Iceland last summer. Her husband, who is also a pretty rad dude, decided it would be a great gift for Amy to have elements of the trip collaged into a painting. But it had to be Top Secret. This one made me equal parts excited but also hella-nervous. Art? Like this? As a surprise? Eek. But he was confident. So I pretended to be totally and completely chill and confident. Also I know Amy so well – my First Friend! – so I hoped I could put something together that she would love. I also felt like this was one of those situations where if she really hated I would just paint a new one. I love her and her family that amount.

Well, I sort of had that happen. I got half way through the pieces (we decided on a 3 piece series), and I had overworked the photos and mementoes so much that the entire paintings looked a bit sad. You can put a lipstick on a pig but, well, you know, still a pig and all that.

There was only one thing to do and that was start over. So I did. And it was 100% the right thing to do! I decided that a landscape layout worked much better on so many levels for this trip of a lifetime. I also had so many elements to work with that I could just take a representative of each and still have a lovely amount of chaos to work with. The result? Beautiful energy coming off of each of these pieces.

I fell in love with these paintings and can’t tell you how much I loved staring at Amy and her gorgeous family’s faces for hours.

Lessons learned on this piece:

  1. Everybody makes mistakes, that’s why pencils have erasers.

  2. No amount of mementos are too many. I was given over a 50 photos and a dozen receipts/tickets/ maps to choose from.

Here are some more behind the scenes/ process photos:

working on all side by side to keep the overall vibe

complete layout before I (re)start gluing down (again)

last look before final layer to finish & polish off the look

Final layout inspo all came from this single Iceland monument photo. Built the complete paintings from that.

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