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2.25.2014

ReCycled Art!

My Mom's favorite painting is Pierre-August Renoir's 'Luncheon of the Boating Party',
painted in vibrantly-colored oils in 1881.
You can see a part of that painting in the photo above,
on a beautiful wine box that I gave her one Christmas.
When I found it with her favorite scene on it, I knew it was a perfect gift.

Here is a view of the Renoir painting in its entirety:
On my parent's 20th wedding anniversary,
I wanted to find a really special and personal gift for them...
so I found a poster-sized lithograph of this painting and over-painted it.

Yes, I defaced a perfectly good print of a famous painting!

I did that because I wanted to personalize it, 
but didn't want to have to paint the whole scene from scratch...

My idea was to make the characters in the painting portray our family,
 making the original scene reflect the faces of my parents and my siblings and our spouses...
as if we were gathered together to celebrate their marriage.
(We're a blended family)

It was a surprise, so I had my siblings send me photos of themselves in certain poses.
Using those as a reference, I changed a few things from the original:
removed some characters, moved some characters, changed faces and clothes a bit,
and the end result was a NEW painting -that we call 'Luncheon of the Mendelson Family'.

Here's my 'personalized' version of Renoir's famous party:

If you look at the two paintings shown together, below, 
you will see the differences more clearly...

The man in the top hat in the top center of the painting was removed, 
and woman on the top right was moved to where the man in the top hat stood .
She had blonde hair added, and now resembles my pretty sister in law Amy, 
standing next to my brother Scott. 
(who doesn't really look all that different from the original man standing there, actually....)
The two men from the upper right have been removed, as well.

The sweet young lady leaning on the railing has had long brown hair added,
and the seated gentleman in the brown hat has his face turned a bit more to the front - 
that's my lovely sister Linda and her husband Ray.

I'm the woman at the table across from 'brown hat guy'...
with a wine glass and blonde hair 
(because when I painted this, I was blonde and worked at a winery).
I was married then, and so the man seated next to me in the painting
had glasses added so he'd resemble my husband.
When I was editing the photo for this post, I made the decision to remove him...  
he's still on the original, though, and will remain there.
The bearded man at the railing in the left foreground got sleeves added to his shirt,
and the woman seated near him had longer blonde hair added...
that's my brother Don and his sweet wife Beverly.
(If I was being totally realistic, I'd have painted Don with a fishing pole and line in the nearby water ;) )

The lovely brunette standing on the right side is a total re-do of the original character:
The manly coat and tie were repainted as a feminine blouse,
and the straight hair changed to a curly brunette style
to more accurately portray my beautiful sister Stacy.

And the two people seated at the front right corner of the table are our parents,
at the center of the celebration.

I think Mom looks a little too much like Martha Stewart here, honestly,
but that's her blonde hair and loving smile as she looks at her husband, our Dad -
who has also had sleeves added to his shirt, along with glasses and gray hair.

One added detail you can't really see is on the wine bottles on the table...
Years before, my parents had me create a custom logo for their own use at parties,
touting their 'Turtle Creek Winery' (they collect turtles).
They used the logo for napkins and aprons and even wine bottle labels,
so I put that logo on the bottles in the painting.
It was just one more way to reflect their lives and marriage...

This is what the actual painting looks like in the frame:

My Mom loves it... it hangs in her office, and she looks at it every day.
I really had fun creating it for her and Dad!

If you are searching for a truly personalized gift
for an anniversary, wedding, or birthday this year...
take someone's favorite painting and put them IN it!

See another altered painting here


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