Matching the Couch

I used to talk art frequently with Dale Hartman, and one of our ongoing jokes was the kind of commissioned work where they want you to paint something that matches the couch. It was emblematic of the lowest an artist could sink.

So, some years later, I was offered a good-paying opportunity to do that exact thing. The challenge was to do a large painting, the largest I'd done ever, 4 x 3 feet, which would hang on the large blank wall that edged the stairs. And have it, you know, kind of go with the couch and things.

As it happened, there was something I'd been hankering to paint: a picture based on this photo, and I'll tell you why. It's a fairly classy patio cafe, and the backwards reflection in the big window is the name of a nearby store: Goodwill.

Visiting the patron's home, I discovered a number of flower-themed items around the place and had an "Aha" moment. Next picture is the sketch I did for her. The blue and red rectangular area is the part that matches the couch.

And next, the finished painting. The "Goodwill" reflection is apparent when you look, and if people don't notice it right away, it's a handy conversation-starter.

I really, really liked doing this piece. I never would have worked so big if somebody hadn't asked for it, and it was a pleasant experience. And it's always great to be appreciated.