So back in February, a friend of ours posted about this really cool family portrait he had commissioned by KateWhitmoreArt on Etsy. Everyone RAVED over it and said they would love one…including me. And then a few months later, I finally said YES, I’M DOING IT! But it was going to be a pre-deployment surprise for Tom.
I worked with her for about six weeks before we had a final product—sending ideas, evaluating sketches, changing details, etc.—and I managed to keep it a secret up until the very end, when I needed his input on something (though, honestly, I could have decided on my own—but you know how I am about surprises and the final reveal would only be a day or so away anyway).
And I have to say that for someone who doesn’t get choked up too easily…I think Tom was actually a bit choked up.
In it, you will notice all the small details of our family that I gave her to make it perfect…
- Owen driving his police car.
- Me taking a photo of Owen with my iPhone.
- A replica of our favorite Troy playground/park in the background.
- Tom wearing an MSU shirt.
- Katie wearing pink and grabbing my hair. The artist did the hair-grabbing thing on her own. I did NOT provide that detail.
- Owen is wearing blue.
- All pets are accounted for—and Charlie even has the nose dot.
- Owen’s drink is his actual cup.
- We have USMC Tervis tumblers. (I wasn’t expecting them to have a visible design, but I can tell they are the USMC one that I sent her the sample photo of.)
- Our exact diaper bag is under the table.
It turned out more perfect than I could have imagined. But, it did take a bit to get there. Here’s the first draft, when she was trying a Christmas theme (I told her we loved Christmas):
She sent it with this:
I thought it was a little too ‘out there’, possibly. I thought it would be cute to have you guys in the tree, surrounded by your ornaments and lights! I just felt it might be a little fun—the ornaments would have either icons/colors for your interests, the USMC, Cars, things like that, and something a little more unique than a standard portrait. Something you can’t get a photo of, you know? If you don’t feel this one, though, just let me know and I can take another crack at it!
So, while I did really like her unique take on us INSIDE a Christmas tree (I had told her we LOVED Christmas) I just wasn’t loving it enough…so I gave her the suggestion of a park or the ocean and sent a few more pics, after which she came up with this:
My thoughts were more YAY! but it wasn’t QUITE there yet. She said she didn’t do a slide (as I had suggested) because the spacing/sizing didn’t work out right. So to me it didn’t look like we were really at a park but more just having a picnic—which we haven’t really ever done. And I wasn’t sure about the kite as he’s never flown a kite so that’s just not him. I thought I might be over-thinking it but my online sounding board assured me I wasn’t…and that the artist DEFINITELY wanted clients to be happy. So I asked her to put Owen in his power wheels police car, have me taking a picture with my iPhone, have our actual sippy cup/Tervis tumblers on the table instead of a pitcher of lemonade, and change the picnic basket to the diaper bag (a long story, but it took trying/buying/returning about 15 bags before I settled on that one, so it’s kind of a running joke).
She was fine with all the changes and then sent this, which was IT.
Then came the color version and it was almost perfect. Bonus points if you can see what the last missing detail was.
Highlight this text to see what it was: The white S on Tom’s shirt.
So overall I’m absolutely and completely THRILLED. I’ve already ordered artwork for our walls (I had bought a Groupon ages ago unsure of what I would use it for…and I’m glad I saved it for this) and I’ll just say that I’m sure this will turn into Christmas presents…