A friend of mine commissioned a portrait of her grandmother, whom she had never known but wanted to be close to. She found an old picture of her and I went from there.
On the computer I turned the black and white portrait to sepia, and printed it onto two surfaces: white cotton, and an acetate transparency. I colored some modest make-up onto the fabric picture with colored pencils. Then I sewed antique ribbons, luscious prints, and a rich velvet around her face, with decorative stitching to bring it all together. I layered the transparency photo ontop of the fabric for depth and shine, letting the cloth of her blouse show through a spot I cut out of the transparency. Then came the embellishments: a vintage earring here, a ribbon flower there. I put them all together in an oval frame encrusted with black buttons. Add a ribbon for hanging, and there she was, in all her splendor.
Her name was Maude. I was very glad to have the opportunity to spend time with her. And I was happier still to send her to live with her granddaughter. May they have many happy years.