This painting of Emilee was a covert operation. Two sisters, living on separate sides of the great USA, saw my work. One sister, I'll refer to as sister X, contacted me and wanted to arrange for me to paint the other sister's cat, Emilee.
The painting would be a surprise. During the months that passed while on my waiting list, I stalked Emilee's parents' Facebook pages and posts. I was ever vigilant of any photos of Emilee. Photos were copied and pasted to a file on my computer. Concurrently, sister X was also secretly gathering reference photos of Emilee for me.
You know, it is difficult to collect reference material when people don't know you are collecting reference material. Photos were too dark, photos were to small, photos were too far away. Dog gone it!!! Then I found it. Yep, the ideal reference photo, well almost. Emilee had a scowl on her face in the ideal photo. She looked a tad irritated. Fear not, I had many other photos from which to glean a happy Emilee expression.
The painting was finished and ready to ship. The delivery date was planned for recipient sister's birthday. Federal Express, another unknowing party in this surprise, delivered right on schedule. Anticipation filled the air. Sister X and I waited for the surprise to be unveiled. It was killing us. Recipient sister's husband had a busy work schedule and was not getting to Federal Express to retrieve the package. OH MY GOSH!!!! Finally, he gets the package, quickly sets it in their house, and heads back off to work. He had no idea what the box was. Okay - more waiting.
Later in the day, sister X received the long awaited phone call - crying and laughing filled her ears. A thrilled recipient sister had found and opened the painting of her beloved Emilee.
Sister X had kept the secret for all those months. It is so difficult to keep such a secret. I admire her self control.
On another fun side, the recipient sister (Cindy) loves to follow the antics of my dog, Bling, on Facebook. For a fun twist, I had Bling as an additional secret agent, delivering the package to my car to take to Federal Express. Thank you to Cindy for loving my girl, Bling, and following her on Facebook.
Sister X (Diane) was so awesome and such a dream to work with. I am not sure who received the best present. Was it Diane (sister X) for a successful secret gift? Was it Cindy (and her husband, Mark) for receiving their special gift? Or, was it me for being able to be part of such a wonderful and loving family by creating a painting for them? It has to be a three way tie!
A few of the many reference photos of Emilee. Isn't she a doll!