Spy Finds is a weekly series that unveils the coolest products that you haven’t heard of until now. Each product is curated by our editors who want to help you discover cool finds you didn’t know you needed.
In our increasingly digitized world, a physical relic of a memory that you can hold in your hand is becoming harder and harder to come by. When was the last time you sent a hand-written “thank you” note, or held a printed-out photo in your hands? The art of commemorating through a physical gift is lost — and we want to help you find it again. A hand-painted portrait is one of the most beautiful ways to celebrate a loved one, capture your family or pay homage to a far-away place you love. While portraits are usually expensive and awkward to pose for, you can now order an affordable, painted adaptation of one of your favorite photos with PaintYourLife.
PaintYourLife does just what its name promises — customers send in personal photographs and professional portrait artists transform it into a beautiful canvas painting. It’s an excellent way to capture a moment in time with loved ones, or gift to give your friends and family to help them capture theirs. They paint everyone — individuals, families, parents and children, pets, children and even compilation portraits — where you can send them multiple photos and they’ll combine them into one beautiful vignette.
There have always been professional portrait artists who could create family portraits and other personalized works of art. However, by taking this process online, PaintYourLife makes unique-to-you portrait photography affordable. However, the real magic of PaintYourLife is in the possibility of composite paintings. They can take a photo of a beloved family member or friend who’s passed away and paint them into a family portrait, holding their grandchild or cuddling with their favorite pet. Anyone in your life who’s passed on can be recreated and have their memory live on through a beautiful portrait you can hang in your home — and PaintYourLife will check in with you for approval on every step of the portrait journey so you’re destined to be happy with the result.
I was offered the chance to try out PaintYourLife for free late last year, and I was skeptical at first. Could they really recreate a photo and make it look not-cheesy? What if I hate the photo and someone on the other end has put in hours of work? I was intrigued enough to try it, and decided on this photo of my boyfriend and I in Glacier National Park for reproduction.
Here’s how PaintYourLife works: I uploaded this photo to their website and chose from a ton of different options regarding the dimensions, canvas, texture (glossy or matte) and a few other specifications. After that, I didn’t hear anything for a while. About a month later I received an email that my painting was about to be cancelled because I hadn’t responded to any of their “edit checks.” I realized that all of their emails had been sent to my spam folder, which unfortunately continued to cause a bit of a hiccup in the process. Their emails were in regard to slight changes they were making to the photograph to make it easier to paint, all of which I was fine with, but since it wasn’t top of mind to check their platform or my spam folder frequently, I kept missing their messages. Regardless, I approved their version of the painting and the production process began.
A few weeks later, the painting arrived at my doorstep and I have to say I was blown away. It’s beautiful and exceeded my expectations of what I thought was possible with a service like this. The canvas arrived rolled up in a protective tube, and is ready to be framed. You can also opt to have your portrait framed by them in a range of framing options. Here’s what the finished product looks like:
Needless to say, we’re really happy with it. They got the colors exactly right and it’s a beautiful painting we’re planning on displaying in our home. It takes a few weeks for them to produce these, so if you’re planning on gifting one for Valentine’s Day or someone’s birthday, then I highly recommend starting the process sooner rather than later. And, check your spam folder for emails from them so you don’t delay the process like I did.
I’m also excited to share that right now through the end of the year, Spy readers can receive $70 off their order and free international shipping by entering the code SPY70 at checkout!
To learn more about PaintYourLife and start production on a painting of your own, follow the link below.