some of these photos may look familiar if you keep up with this blog or my instagram. the story goes like this: i was in upstate ny, shopping for a bangin’ cute dress for my sister heather to wear to my cousin keri’s wedding. my jaw dropped at the second thrift/vintage shop we found; there was a “back room” completely devoted to 80’s/90’s prom dresses. (amazing but not wedding appropriate;) i carried the dress around the shop with me for a few minutes, only to leave it behind… i would never wear it, i wanted to paint it, and besides we were shopping for my sister, not myself.
fast forward a few days, (like 3) the wedding is over, (we found heather a sweet floral number for the wedding, see above.) i’m back at home, a plane ride away from ny, it’s my birthday, and randomly, i can’t stop thinking about this dress! i theorized a few ways i could still snag it, but nothing really made sense. i decided i would find a similar dress in one of the many overpriced vintage shops of west palm beach. (one that would hopefully inspire the same desire to paint as the candy striped one that slipped through my fingers.) anywhoo, i returned from my birthday dinner a tad hammered and ready to open my presents. the first box, from heather, i noticed was expedited. i thought it was sweet she wanted me to have something to open on my birthday, enough so, that she paid extra for shipping. i’m sure by now you know what dress was in that box. i cried. and commenced drunk texting her a pile of thanks. (we spoke the next day obviously.)
it was enough to have finally have my hands on the dress i felt destined to paint, (in a big way) but what moved me even more, was that my sister, who has four wild, amazing boys, a fab marriage, and a bajillion things to do on any given day, made the time to return to the shop, (the very next day after our initial visit) to buy the dress, and ship it- two day shipping ;). she did this in the precious few moments she had to herself, while her parents watched the kids. a girl who NEVER has time for herself, chose to spend it on a surprise for me. i’m rarely surprised these days, but this was too much. she did it and totally floored me. i joyously began painting the dress a few days later. i completed it in stages, and thick layers, using acrylic, a departure from my standard alla prima approach with oil paint. it was a breakthrough in technique for me that will continue with the use of acrylic and has carried over into my oil painting as well. the dress now lives permanently in my florida studio, and its portrait represents not only the love from a sister/friend who totally gets me, but major turning point in my painting style. thanks heather.