Brett had to first decide WHAT to paint. We don't know Dr. Ladd well at all, so it was especially challenging for Brett to choose the subject for a very personal painting. He didn't think he could go wrong if he did a painting of students at the school. He spent some time at the school taking pictures of buildings and kids. He had very willing students who agreed to let him try and capture the action of the campus as best he could, even though they were unaware of the reason.
After the photos came the photo shop work of composing a balanced, pleasing setting to recreate. When that was accomplished Brett printed a gigantic copy in black and white with carbon on the back. Then he proceeded to transfer reference points of the image onto a gridded canvas with a very tedious technique shown below. Then finally the palette knife and paints came out and Brett lost himself in the studio.
Not quite finished
Finished painting but unframed
We were invited to the celebration dinner for the Ladds at the Four Seasons Hotel where the painting would be unveiled. Brett was so nervous he couldn't eat for most of the day and just picked at the delicious five star meal we were served that night. And if you know Brett, you know that nothing gets in the way of his five meals a day. I think he was so nervous he didn't even hear the gasps of delight from the audience as the painting was uncovered. It was a success and the Ladds really loved their gift. Everyone was complimentary and I could see the stress drain from my husband's face as Ed shook his hand and thanked him. Unfortunately I enjoyed the evening more than Brett did because of his nervousness, but it is always easier to be the doting, supportive wife than the one on the hot seat. Dr. Ladd liked the painting so well and was so appreciative that he put it on display at the school the last few days so the students and staff could see it. The ASD newsletter also highlighted it on the front page.