“Can you do a painting of a buffalo on a guitar?” This request came from a friend, asking for her significant other. She wanted to know if I could meet with him to discuss the project as he had very specific ideas about what he wanted.
I had questions… Did he want a painting of a “picture” of a guitar with a buffalo on it (which I didn’t really want to do), or did he want me to paint a picture of a buffalo on an actual guitar (which I REALLY didn’t want to do)? Since it was a close friend asking, I decided to at least hear what he had to say, even though I was quite certain that I did not want to take on this project.
He wanted me to paint on an actual guitar. I said no. He had put a good deal of time and thought into a presentation with examples of exactly what he wanted. It was to be a parting gift for his boss, who oversaw the Buffalo, New York region and was transferring to another state. He was a musician and guitar enthusiast, hence the buffalo on the guitar. I said no – I had no idea what to use to paint a guitar, and I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good musical instrument – layers of paint would certainly affect the sound quality of an acoustic guitar. Still, he persisted. It was to be a more of a wall ornament, not to be played, and he would buy a low-end guitar for me to use.
Then something shifted. I was swept up in his wave of enthusiasm. I had an idea: I knew I didn’t want to paint the guitar, but what if I were to use color pencil and oil pastel? I was confident that I could achieve the look that he wanted using that medium. However, he would have to find a guitar with unfinished wood in order for it to work. He agreed and we had a plan!
After two failed attempts at procuring an unfinished wood guitar (although they looked like unfinished wood, they had some sort of laminate that had a plastic-like surface and would not hold the pencil colors), he found a woodworker that was able to apply a thin wood veneer to the front of the second guitar. Finally, I had a base on which I could work. The rest of the project went very smoothly and was a rather enjoyable experience and I was quite pleased with the finished piece. My friend brought the guitar back to the music store from which he purchased it to get it re-strung and tuned. The best part of all – even more than I could have hoped for – the musician who tuned it for him said that it had the nicest sound of any guitar she had ever played!