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Testimonial Article


Sandy Nathan


 What do you get your best friend of 48 years on the occasion of his 80th birthday? It had to be memorable, lasting, and an acknowledgment of our very long life together. And the love between us. The gift should also be impressive and a surprise. And not break the bank.


As I  pondered what to get my husband for his birthday, life went on. We had moved to a new house and I had walls to fill. I was decorating our room in a style I’d never attempted––boho, or bohemian. All embroidered velvet, sparkles and lace. Our room needed peacocks and crystals, stuff that scintillated and shone.  


How to create the exotic mood I wanted and fill those empty walls? Paintings! Big ones. I recalled a site I’d found years ago: Europic.com. They offered copies of the Great Masters’ works in whatever size you wanted. I’d bookmarked some of its reproductions, but I’d never purchased a painting from them. Why not now?


I got on their huge site of famous and less-famous paintings. They were great! I could order all of them.

After looking at images of  paintings on line for what seemed like years–I have to see everything–I ordered these:


Detail of dark peacock painting with appliqued velvet draperies, also from China, and a silver frame..

Painting of dark peacock with our velvet draperies. I just love this.

Painting of dark peacock with our velvet draperies. I just love this. It’s huge: 30” W X 40” H.

Dark peacock with room décor: painted, jeweled mirrors, crystal studded bed, and  Indian  tapestry. Is that enough glam, boho, and bling?


I also ordered the painting below for my bedroom. Another peacock, white this time, with lush blooms, and a white traditional frame:


I was shocked by how beautiful these were when I opened the package. I loved my new paintings, but I still didn’t have an idea for my husband’s birthday gift. And then––I sat at my desk and looked in front of my nose. There it was:

Andy Oddstad riding his Quarter Horse, Water Dog, in the Oakland hills, c. 1960.


This painting of my father was done in the early 1960s––couldn’t be later as my dad was killed by a drunk driver in 1964. That's 58 years ago. The painting is as fresh and bright as the day it was painted. Every time I look at it, I remember my father and his wonderful horse with love. I’m so glad I’ve got the painting. A portrait lasts forever, though my father died prematurely.


That’s what I should get Barry! A portrait! And Europic Art did portraits! I contacted owner, Jack Lee, and talked about prices and feasibility, (Very reasonable and very feasible.) Then  I went through thousands of photos of Barry on various of our horses and did a bunch of Photoshopping, I ended up selecting two photos I had to have paintings of, and a little treat for myself. I emailed these off to Jack Lee and waited, but not very long. This is what I got:

Barry Nathan riding his Peruvian Paso stallion, Leon Gitano. If you’re wondering what the horse is doing, with his legs crossed, head bent, and leaning over, and Barry leaning back, he’s doing enfrenadura, a type of fancy reining used in  Peruvian bull fighting.


This painting is a knock out! Also huge, it’s almost 3’ square. The quality of the painting is amazing. I love the foliage in the background. That’s a pine tree behind Barry, and it looks like a pine. The rest are oaks, and are readily identifiable as such. The horse is perfect. I’ve seen so many paintings and reproductions that don’t get the details of the horse right: joints, leg and head positions. This is perfect. This painting hangs above my husband’s desk. I get to look at it from my position at the dinner table. It never fails to put a smile on my face. Not to mention my husband:  he was overjoyed when he saw these paintings.

This is my second gift for Barry: a portrait of him on Leon again, this time standing still. The quality of the painting is amazing. That’s a Peruvian braided rawhide bridle on Leon’s head. Perfect! The whole thing is perfect, starting with Barry’s face and expression. Also Leon’s. It’s wonderful. The hills in the background are exactly what the hills in our part of California look like in the summer. And the  purple plum trees and pepper trees in the background are just what’s there. I’ve got this painting in the entry hall; it’s the first thing people see when they come into the house. Another home run!



I couldn’t stand Barry getting all the goodies, so I pulled out this old glamor portrait and sent it to Europic-Art. If you’ve met me in the last twenty years, you may say, “That’s you??” Yes, indeed, that’s me about 30 years ago, at age 47. No plastic surgery, either.  Alas. Faces change, but now I have a permanent memento from my younger days.


My husband likes this, too. He was around when I looked like that. He sees it and smiles. “I can remember  you then. That painting makes me remember.” Sweet.




If you buy a painting from China or anywhere else, you’ll receive it rolled inside a tube or around a tube. Postage is too high to mail a stretched  canvas halfway around the world. The rolled canvasses need to be stretched on a plain wooden frame––stretcher bars. Many paintings can be hung like that, just stretched. Or they can be framed with an ornamental frame. That’s what I wanted.


I figured I’d stretch the canvases myself to save money––I’m a pretty handy DIY’er. I even bought wide canvas stretchers  (Like very wide plyers) and checked YouTube for how to do it. The first thing I found  was that plain wooden stretcher bars cost a fortune! I hadn’t counted on that. After buying the wood, I’d still have to stretch the canvas by myself. I was really iffy about doing that, despite YouTube’s advice. Then I checked on the cost of stretching and framing by a nationally known craft retailer. Horrendous!


I hadn’t counted on this little extra. I hit the internet, combing Etsy and a number of framing sites, trying to find a good deal.


I found Laredo Frame Company on Etsy. I LOVED their frames. Lots of ornate ones, which are my favorites. I wrote to them about their frames, and in the process I found that they stretched canvases and mounted them in the frames, all for way less than I could buy the wood on line! The frames were reasonable considering the quality and the fact that they were custom. You could change details and colors to fit your needs. Did they have a new customer!


This is what I got from Laredo Frame Company of Laredo Texas: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LAREDOFRAMEFACTORY 


 I used Laredo Frame Factory in Laredo, Texas for all the frames. Check Laredo’s web site or Etsy page for specifics. Here are the frames I used:

A traditional frame in white for the white




A traditional frame in muted silver for the

dark peacock.


A black frame with a rustic rope  banding in gold.

Both formal and rustic, as Western as they come.



A slick looking gold traditional frame. Looks more copper online, but gold is terrific, too.




Another traditional frame, this time in black with gold highlighting. I asked for a little more  gold than their on line examples and a got it. A little more, not  enough to be gaudy.



These are heavy, handmade, custom frames. Everything  I wanted with stretching of the canvases and postage from Texas. Superb customer service.


I recommend Jack Lee’s Europic Arts for all your art needs. And Laredo Frame Factory to set off your painting and get it to you framed and in great condition.


I’m now looking for more subjects for Jack Lee to paint. My big poodles? Barry’s new horse? Maybe me on a horse, when I get a horse.


The constraint now is wall space: it’s full.


FIVE STARS! Highly recommended.