The annivesary gift arrives!

Back to that word from one of this site’s sponsors.

A while ago, I posted a review of the Web site and services of one of the sponsors if this blog, As exciting as their whole deal sounded, I remained unsure of what to expect. Was this going to be an oil painting type of thing, a photo on canvas instead of photo paper or something in between? After all, when you have an opportunity to acquire and anniversary gift that could become a family heirloom for generations, you hope it’s everything it’s cracked up to be.

Well, the package finally arrived last weekend and both my wife and I have been startled at just how lovely and high-quality this product is. And for those of you who are wondering, it really was “something in between” a painting and a photo.

Let me say, first of all, that has some very talented folks working for them who have very good eyes for finding “the best cropping” of a photo. Control freak that I can sometimes be, I entered some very precise details into the “notes” section of my order, detailing how I wanted the photo cropped during the creation of my 16″ by 20″ canvas. And finally, I decided to trust their people by ending all those details with “please analyze the source photo before you begin work and select the best way to maximize it.”

Satisfied at my own odd display of micromanaging and blind faith, I waited. The very next day, I received an email from the artist working on my canvas, letting me know something I never would have expected.

“Your photo isn’t ideal for a 16″ x 20″ canvas,” he wrote, “so we are upgrading you to 20″ x 20″ at no additional cost to you!” He then assured me they would be starting work soon and do a great job.

A few days later, the canvas arrived and everyone we’ve shared it with agrees, it is an amazing piece of art. That’s not to say it’s a painting, exactly. took my source photo, cleaned it up, maximized the interesting parts of the photo, honoring in spirit all my requests, except for finding an even better way to make the photo look its best. Their process is highly technical, but they somehow transfer the image, after image maximization, onto an honest-to-goodness artist’s canvas.

Then, with a process called “light brush strokes,” the add by hand an effect that makes the image look painted. Whether it’s a clear shellac or just what, I’m not sure, but up-close and at a distance, the photo-painting looks incredible. While I’ll soon have a photo posted (my wife and I bought a digital camera just to show this thing off, and the image will be up soon), nothing as small as an online, 72dpi photo is going to capture and communicate the artistry involved in this photo enlargement.

It’s not my gift to my wife or her gift to me; it’s our anniversary gift to ourselves. A first-year anniversary is supposed to be paper by tradition; but for us, canvas is close enough.

We got ours with a gallery frame for the initial order, but only because we wanted to go to a local frame store and hand-select the perfect frame once we had it in hand. That’s despite offering a nice selection of wooden frames of their own.

I can’t imagine being happier with this product. I was a bit curious when I first placed the order, but now really does have my full trust and confidence. My wife and I may even use them in the future, like when we have our first child.

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