Commission Stories

Below are some stories and images of paintings made for folks who wanted something “extra-special” for themselves or their loved ones.

Click here to learn how you can commission a unique piece of artwork.



My friend Tash traveled abroad in the last few years as a member of the U.S. Military. He had several photos he liked that capture that time for him and had been thinking to have turned into paintings for awhile.

Tash and I looked through his images and agreed that the best choice was that of Draco the chimpanzee.

Draco was an adolescent male chimpanzee who lived in a cage in an Aftrican post where Tash was once stationed. One day, Draco and his other chimp friend escaped from his cage and, in true adolescent style, happily accepted beer offered to them by Tash and his colleagues in hopes of pacifying the monkeys back into the cage. After much misadventure including some uncoordinated silliness and a tirade, Draco and his friend eventually allowed themselves to be escorted back into their cages.

It was such a funny and unusual story, and we reasoned that while many people can have a landscape or portrait in their home that’s personal, not many can have a piece with this great a story behind it! Here is the initial photo of Draco, taken by Tash. It shows him sitting in a tree with his jar of beer.

Tash generously gave me creative freedom with the painting, considering the decor of his home and what I knew about him. I used this opportunity to develop a style of painting that mixes my love for pen and ink, black and white dramatic tones and brush stroke with both a watercolor-style wash technique and a more traditional bold, full-color acrylic look.  Here is the result:

Tash and I were both very happy with the final piece.

I delivered the painting and worked with Tash to determine the best spot and way to arrange his furniture around the new addition.  Once we found the spot, we both agreed that painted Draco brought out the best in both the painting and his home.

Final hanging place in Tash's home

Me with Draco

As we talked, Tash observed that, of all the things in his home he has spent money on, this painting was certainly among the most expensive. However, he valued it above those other things–computer, etc–because those things were ultimately replaceable. This, however, is a unique and original creation that could never be replaced.

Tash writes:

“April really over delivered with this piece. She captured the essence of the moment in ways I hadn’t even imagined were possible when I commissioned her. People always compliment me on having such a nice painting, and I couldn’t be prouder to show it off. “

Happy "new Daddy"!



Tia’s Birthday Gift

Mike, a friend of a friend, contacted me because he wanted to make a unique and meaningful surprise birthday gift to a his friend Tia–a woman he admired and cared for deeply.

Mike looked through photos he had of her and together we chose one where Tia is standing with her grandmother and mother. There were other lovely shots he showed me depicting just Tia, but we both agreed it would be best to make an image that would have the most meaning to her, who loves her family very much.


Working from the photo, I created this acrylic painting on canvas, working hard to capture the special feeling of the people and place pictured. It was wonderful knowing I would be helping Mike make such a meaningful gift to this woman, and to “get to know” her through painting her, her mother and grandmother.

Here is the final product, which Tia was very happy and surprised to receive on her birthday.


Mike says…

“Working with April was great. Tia’s grandmother just passed away and the painting April created from the photo perfectly captures a special moment in time. I’ve found most people have enough ‘stuff’ so I wanted to get her something different, special and meaningful.”

~ Mike