Wednesday, October 03, 2007

2007-10-03 Geoff Mulling Over His Birthday Wine

A friend of mine's boyfriend's father is turning 70 soon. So he zapped me on Facebook and said, 'Roy... how much would you charge to make a portrait of him in your own inimitable style?'

So we negotiated. A deal was struck. Money was put into my bank account.

And yesterday I used the reference pics he supplied to create this elaborate scene.

The reference pics were tight head and shoulder shots. Which I felt were a little bit bald. Not bald as in 'lack of hair'. Bald as in 'not really revealing much about the dude'.

Which is why I searched through my reference materials to find a decent setting. And I had Geoff engaging in one of his favourite activities... exploring the inside of a decent bottle of wine.

I sent it off to Jason, deeply confident that the second half of my payment would follow immediately, along with gushing praise. Sadly, it was not to be. (Actually, it's not that sad. It's an expected thing. In portraiture, the client almost always has something in mind. And when it doesn't match, the portraitist always expects to make changes.)

Jason said, 'Uh, uhm, uh, I don't know how to say this... but... it's not EXACTLY what we had in mind. We were really hoping for a tight head and shoulders shot. I'm so embarrassed'

'Hey,' I said, 'no need to feel embarrassed! It's a portrait. You're the client! I'll happily do another version.'

'Phshew,' said Jason. 'I really didn't know how to tell you that. Oh... by the way... can you make his head more round?'

Lessons to be learned...

1. Tell the client in advance that they're free to dislike the pic, and that changes will happily be made. This will avoid their feeling embarrassed.

2. When a client supplies multiple reference pics, and they're all tight head and shoulders shots, chances are they want a tight head and shoulders portrait, not a mystical scene on a beach.

So... this is the one that got away. The new version is sitting with Jason right now. I expect he's discussing it with his boyfriend. And I'll know what he feels about it soon enough.

In the meantime, this pic's out and about. Feel free to hate, like, love it.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.5 and finished in Photoshop CS2. It started out in CorelDraw 10 as six reference photos all comped together to make a rough reference. The arm holding the wine bottle is actually from a pic I took of my own arm holding a bottle of balsamic vinegar.

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