Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Vacation Portrait Painting

by Nomi Wagner

It’s raining! It’s pouring! Yay! We in California are so grateful, at least for this year. However, the rains did bring challenges for some folks. I received this email:

Nomi, my wife commissioned a portrait painting from you in 2011 that's been water damaged in our home. We cherish the painting and would appreciate your help getting a fresh print that we can rehang in our home. Please let us know details on what it would take to get a new print.

How gratifying to know that all the portraits I’ve done are digital files that I have archived. People wonder why I go to so much trouble to paint digitally. One of the reasons is that I can reproduce a portrait from the exact same file as the original. It is so comforting for me and my clients.

Over the years, a few of my portrait paintings were damaged in transit … no problem … my husband Gerry printed and shipped replacements. Clients frequently request additional prints for gifts or their offices … again, no problem … Gerry can print however many they want, in various sizes. For me, it’s the same situation as when I was a portrait photographer and always had negatives from which to have reprints made. I can’t imagine the agony I would go through if one of my paintings or drawings were ever lost or damaged and could not be replaced.

This particular fun portrait was based on a photo taken during the family’s vacation in Costa Rica. I did a lot of research online about the resort, its trees and flowers, and the adjacent geography. Using some artistic license and my clients’ approval, I simplified and enhanced the scene. I also painted an island and cove that I saw in online photos, but were only partly visible in the background of their photo.


For the final version, I cropped in tighter on the pool deck and added leaves, flowers, and the children's shadows. Another reason that I love painting digitally is that I can make changes up to the end. I keep my clients on board and get their feedback, by emailing them the work in progress as I go. Since I constantly save my work, I can even revert to a previous version. Nothing is lost. This allows me to take creative risks and be spontaneous throughout the project. Perfect for this scaredy-cat artist! As I write this blog post, I am grateful for fine art technology and the pitter-patter of raindrops outside my window.