It’s always so nice when a stealth project is finished, and I can reveal everything. I’m just not cut out for secret keeping.

A few weeks ago, one of the work managers (Eric) called me and asked if I would be willing to paint something for a co-worker’s (Sue) retirement. I have stopped taking commissions, but I really like Sue, and so I listened to his idea. He wanted me to do something based the Oregon region she represents for the agency. He suggested one of thsee photos from a frequent partner. I took a look and explained that those were gorgeous photos, and if he wanted something like that, he should contact the photographer and purchase a print. He didn’t think that was right, so I suggested I would like through my own reference photos and come up with some ideas.

Reference Photos

The reference photos can be broadly sorted into three categories.

      1. The Painted Hills, which is what Eric thought would be most appropriate.
      2. The Sky, which is one of the things I love about going over to that region.
      3. Something from Sue herself.


With those ideas sorted, I worked on some small value sketches to show Eric.

The Painted Hills
Region 6 Sky
Silence of a Children’s Moon

In progress

I sent the sketches to Eric. He liked the Painted Hills and didn’t really like either of the other two. So, I sat down and got to work on the technique I had decided to use.

The problem is that once all the paint was out, as usual, I got to playing. So, Region 6 Sky showed up as well as the Painted Hills.


I asked Eric if either appealed to him, and he switched his vote to Region 6 Sky. I decided to finish both and did “Sky” again with a different technique.

The Painted Hills
Region 6 Sky
Storm Sweeping In

Do you have a favorite? All three feature Sue on her horse, just as an fyi.


I turned in all three to Eric, and through an office voting process, Region 6 Sky was chosen. I was glad; it was always my favorite (of the ones that had been painted.) Eric took the painting to the framers and then last Tuesday my agency wished Sue farewell.

In place

Sue says she loves it, and I’m happy. It was a fun project. But the most fun was her sending me a photo of the painting in its new home.