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Wedding Woes

Nope! A Good Lesson in Not Procrastinating

Dear Prudence,
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 

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Re: Nope! A Good Lesson in Not Procrastinating

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'd say talk to your friend instead of her husband and tell her you don't want to do the painting over. It won't look right, blah blah.

    LW has no business telling friend or husband how to parent their adult child, and they certainly shouldn't advocate hitting her. 
    charlotte989875STARMOON44OurWildKingdom
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ugh, I can see both sides of this. Yes, the step-daughter didn't send a picture. But then to not include her seems harsh. Surely she could have found a picture somewhere of this girl, yes? 

    STARMOON44InLoveInQueensOurWildKingdom
  • 6fsn6fsn member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    The artist knew there was a history with the step daughter. I kinda think she should have known this would have known it would be an issue. She probably should have rethought the logistics of the gift. 
    InLoveInQueensOurWildKingdomredwoodoriginal
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Use your words LW.  "I haven't brought this up with my friend..."  why?  I'd let them know the trouble I went through.  I might have tried a final "can you text/email me a selfie?  If I don't have a photo I won't be able to paint you" with the stepdaughter, but it seems like LW did try.  (Although I'm a teensy bit surprised LW is close enough to the friend to want to give this lovely, personal gift but not close enough to know what the daughters look like as adults.  NOT trying to minimalize LW's frustration, I'd feel that way too, just a touch surprised.)
    OurWildKingdom
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ugh, I can see both sides of this. Yes, the step-daughter didn't send a picture. But then to not include her seems harsh. Surely she could have found a picture somewhere of this girl, yes? 
    I could definitely see that too and it probably would have been a better way to go.

    But then, if I were the LW, it also might have crossed my mind that maybe the SD didn't want to be in the portrait.  But rather than say that, she just didn't send a pic.
    If she'd sent the pic, she wouldn't have grounds for this tantrum. I'm really half of the mind that this was her motivation.

    I do think the LW should have told the SD what we tell people when asking for RSVPs - make it explicit - "If you don't send the pic by X date, I won't be able to include you in the portrait." SD may have just figured that others would cover for her - the LW would just ask her dad or something - and didn't realize the consequence was actually being cut out of the portrait.

    I hate that, because it really shouldn't be LW's job to hunt a photo down, but I can also see where SD didn't think it would mean THIS.
    charlotte989875MesmrEweOurWildKingdom
  • CasadenaCasadena member
    Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper

    I get wanting to keep it a surprise, but LW is seemingly close to the family so I would have suggested contacting the Husband when daughter wasn't responsive.   He presumably has a photo, would want his daughter included, and would keep it a surprise. 

    I don't think she should do anything NOW, but she could have figured it out better beforehand.

    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    I feel like there was a couple routes LW could have taken.  She could have warned the SD that if the picture wasn't sent by X date then she wouldn't be in the photo.  She could have gotten a photo from the husband, or maybe even one of the other children that sent a photo.  And she could have mentioned after the fact that she did indeed try to include SD and SD refused.  (I like the comment that SD might have not sent a photo as a way to say not to get included - that might have been how I interpreted the lack of response).

    As to people saying that she should just be able to know what the SD looks like without a photo - every painting studio I've seen paints from photos.  Not everyone can paint without a photo aid.  I suspect LW is like that.
    imageimage
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusicOurWildKingdom
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    kerbohl said:
    I feel like there was a couple routes LW could have taken.  She could have warned the SD that if the picture wasn't sent by X date then she wouldn't be in the photo.  She could have gotten a photo from the husband, or maybe even one of the other children that sent a photo.  And she could have mentioned after the fact that she did indeed try to include SD and SD refused.  (I like the comment that SD might have not sent a photo as a way to say not to get included - that might have been how I interpreted the lack of response).

    As to people saying that she should just be able to know what the SD looks like without a photo - every painting studio I've seen paints from photos.  Not everyone can paint without a photo aid.  I suspect LW is like that.
    This. A relative of mine is an artist, and he can't just sit with an easel next to the Seine in Paris in a beret like the stereotype or with a model in a studio and paint them. He'll see a scene for a large painting or a close up detail for postcard prints or whatever that he wants to paint, and he'll whip out his camera or just his phone if that's what's handy and take a picture of it and then paint from that back in the office. 

    ILoveBeachMusickerbohlOurWildKingdomMesmrEwe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited May 24
    I'd tell the husband that the portrait is done, and if he or his wife want any changes to it, it's now on them to find another artist to make those changes, because you asked repeatedly for a picture of his daughter to work from and never received one.

    Or I would charge the husband for the cost of a new portrait.

    But I would refuse to get involved in his family drama.
    short+sassyOurWildKingdom
  • Someone needs to be told - with proof, since I expect stepdaughter will try to lie or say otherwise - that LW tried to contact her MULTIPLE times.

    Otherwise ... fuck that 'kid'
    OurWildKingdomMesmrEwe
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