For a friend’s birthday, I decided to paint a portrait of her, her late mother, and her adult children (two girls of her own and a stepdaughter). I contacted all three children back in January to please send me a picture so I could paint them. I contacted the stepdaughter (she lives out of state) several times. I even sent her a letter with a paid-for return envelope for the picture. She told me she would get around to it but never did.
I finally gave up and did the portrait without her. I know that my friend had a difficult relationship with her stepdaughter growing up. I presented the painting to my friend at her birthday. She loved it so much that she cried. Later, her husband approached me. His daughter came down to visit, saw the portrait, and threw a fit. She screamed at her parents about how she obviously was not loved or wanted in the family. He wanted me to “fix” the portrait now to include this girl. I haven’t brought this up with my friend, but frankly I am insulted, and I think a good slap across the face might work wonders for this brat rather than indulging in this emotional manipulation. She did not want to be in the painting; she has no grounds to be upset now. It would require me to start over from scratch. How do I respond properly here?
—Picture’s Not Perfect