To Steven: Happy Anniversary! Love, Gus.

For about the past five months I’ve been working in secret on a painting of my friends Gus and Steven, an anniversay present from Gus to Steven.

Gus & Steven, acrylic, marker, and collage on board, framed, 29 x 65.


Gus & Steven detail 1


Gus & Steven detail 2


Per Gus’s specifications I tried to keep some of the original image peeking through. He had seen some of my other painting-over-old-paintings and liked that aspect in those. He had an impressive knowledge of my work and had clearly spent some time looking at my web site and blog, which is a super great way to make me feel all happy and good. He didn’t want to steer me too much but there was some very helpful direction in the things he described that he liked.


Also he had an old framed painting that once belonged to his aunt that he wanted me to use. He didn’t want to hang the image anymore, but he didn’t want to just hide it away, either. He sneaked it over in April and I promptly covered it in black.


Under Gus & Steven (Gus’s Aunt’s framed print)


Not a bad painting, that. (Actually a print of a photo of a painting on board.) I especially enjoyed this section with the cows and the fairly impressionistic shrubbery and the sort of possessed-looking barn:


Detail of the painting under Gus & Steven


Here it is in progress, flat on its back on the floor so I can puddle and drip paint on it:


Gus & Steven in progress.


I finished a little late but Gus and Steven were out of town for their anniversary anyway so Gus said it was fine. It’s always good to be able to finish something with no pressure. Finally I was able to text Gus, “Et voila!”


They came by to see it for the first time and pick it up Saturday. Gus texted me they were on their way after running some errands and Steven had no idea. I tried to act all surprised to see them but I’m a really bad actor and Steven had sort of figured it out by then anyway. So I dispensed with pretense and walked them out to the front patio, the prettiest place by far to unveil a painting.


The Unveiling



Gus and Steven looking at Gus & Steven.


Of course I worried a little they wouldn’t really, really like it like I wanted them to. I didn’t think they would hate it but I wanted them to love it. They said they did. They seemed for real.


Gus & Steven with Gus and Steven


True story. Happy ending.

Met 8-8-04, married 8-8-08

Happy Anniversary, Gus & Steven!