I looked at the picture and her request to remember what summer was like. She wanted the painting for the new year, just before the most intense period of writing that she was going to do, and I pondered just how I was going to pull it off. I'm not a painter who can sit down and give you exactly what you want. I paint by emotion, and this requires patience. If I don't feel it in any particular moment then the painting is probably going to come off poorly. My best paintings have come from extended periods of bonding with that particular painting. Everything else, for me anyway, is just practice. I had less than two weeks to put this together and to decide which colors would mix best and how I would layer everything. It wasn't until December 30th that I finally had an idea of what I wanted to do. After having thought about it for a good 12 days, the sketch came together wonderfully, then the yellows sat across the middle, and the reds above blended into orange in between. The blues came down over the charcoal blocks and the excess was worked into the reds above to create a line of greens and greys before giving way to the night sky above. The final touch was the dabs of yellow where the lights had turned on. I never even looked at the photo while I painted. I didn't need to, because the photo was what was there for her. The painting was what was there for me.
My advice to anyone buying art: buy the artist, not the painting. You may never know what the artist will give you, but you'll always have a connection knowing that he or she put himself or herself into the piece of work. It's that personal touch that matters most, and will carry weight with it forever.