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Paint Your Life Review: The Ideal Gift to Warm Her Heart?

Disclosure: We received courtesy product from Paint Your Life in exchange for our honest review only. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Savarone Ammann
Expertise:

Fitness, Personal Growth, Style, Grooming, Lifestyle

Sav works as a senior copywriter at Codeword Agency and has written for brands ranging from Google, Android, and Salesforce to TRX, Onnit, Soludos, and Ben Sherman. He describes himself as an overly active inkslinger with a touch of self-proclaimed style and an affinity for the perfect glass of red wine. He believes, like the color black, being a gentleman never goes out of fashion. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Jun 27, 2023
12 min read
PaintYourLife Review Girl Holding Up Portrait of Herself and her Boyfriend

Finding the most thoughtful gift for your girlfriend or wife feels borderline impossible. What can you possibly get that’ll convey just how much you care about such a treasured person in your life?

Paint Your Life thinks they may have the solution with their professionally hand-painted portraits. Let’s find out.

It's all in the details
The Adult Man Image/Icon
Paint Your Life

Bottom line: Paint Your Life did a great job at transforming one of my girlfriend's favorite photos of her and I into a hand-painted portrait. My advice? Take your time choosing the right photo, art medium, and frame, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications from your artist. If you do, you’ll wind up with a gorgeous portrait your girlfriend, wife, or anyone in your life will love.

Ratings: The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service
Pros:
  • Paint Your Life works with an array of capable artists
  • You can choose between seven different art mediums
  • The canvas, frame, and materials are all very high-quality
  • This is truly a one-of-a-kind gift
Cons:
  • Your portrait might not look exactly like the photo you submit as it’s hand-painted
  • Picking from over 200 available artists and 7 different art mediums can feel overwhelming
  • You’re putting a lot of trust and money into an artist you don’t know

How many incredible photos have you and your girlfriend taken that are buried in a digital stack of thousands of pictures on your phone?

Way too many to count? Yep, me too.

I picked one of my girlfriend’s favorite photos of us and sent it to Paint Your Life to have it painted into a portrait she could keep forever. Here’s how it worked out.

What Is Paint Your Life?

Couple s portrait from PYL
A Paint Your Life hand-painted portrait

Paint Your Life is a custom art creation and delivery platform that opened its studios in 2006 with the goal of helping people celebrate some of life’s most precious moments. 

Simply choose any photo—or several different photos—and send it to Paint Your Life to be hand-painted by one of their artists, framed, and delivered to your door for a gift that’s completely unique to you and your loved one.

The brand says its team consists of “portrait artists, designers, developers, dreamers, and doers committed to bringing the best customer experience to the people we serve.”

Paint Your Life Examples

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With access to dozens of artists, Paint Your Life allows you to create a custom portrait from any photo or combination of photos. 

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The family portrait above is an oil painting, but Paint Your Life has artists who specialize in seven unique art mediums, including oil, charcoal, watercolor, black or colored pencil, pastel, and acrylic.

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Families, couples, and pets are a few of the most common categories, but don’t feel restricted to the list of categories offered. If you have an idea for an epic, funny, or heartfelt portrait, or even a memorable landscape image, you can send in a specific request and Paint Your Life will make your vision come to life.

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A hand-painted portrait is a terrific gift for a special occasion like a wedding, birthday, anniversary, or graduation, but it doesn’t need to be tied to an event. It’s a timeless and thoughtful way to show someone how much they mean to you.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Hand-painted Portrait from Paint Your Life

Paint Your Life couple s portrait in frame
My hand-painted portrait of my girlfriend and I from Paint Your Life

A hand-painted piece of art is no small gift. First, you need to determine if your wife or girlfriend would appreciate a gift like this.

Think about what type of art she hangs on the walls and what she’s naturally drawn to. Does she have a Pinterest page, collage books, or anything else that reflects the kinds of styles and aesthetics she likes? Has she framed and displayed a photo of you two before? Does she like to keep photos around of family and loved ones around?

An important step gents, maybe THE most important step, is to find a photo of you and her that she really loves. If you’re not sure, skim through all the photos you have together and flag a handful of the best ones. Then, tell her you were looking through old memories and ask which one is her favorite.

Or better yet, tell her to send you her favorite photo of the two of you. If she asks why, tell her you’re working on a surprise for her and you can’t discuss the details. 

Paint Your Life Personalized Portrait

Paint Your Life did a great job at transforming one of my favorite photos of my girlfriend and I into a hand-painted portrait. My advice? Take your time choosing the right photo, art medium, and frame, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications from your artist. If you do, you’ll wind up with a gorgeous portrait your girlfriend, wife, or anyone in your life will love.

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Paint Your Life Review

First, I’ll talk about the ordering process, my portrait experience, and the final product I received, then I’ll highlight a few of the different mediums, themes, and occasions you can choose from.

The Ordering Process

Choosing your subject on PYL

1. Subject

First, you’ll select the subject from 20 different offerings. These include categories like “parent & child”, “couple”, “family/group”, “children”, and others. I selected “couple”.

2. Medium

Next, you’ll pick from seven different mediums Paint Your Life offers, which include oil, acrylic, charcoal, watercolor, color pencil, pastel, and black pencil. Oil tends to create the most detailed and realistic image, which is what I tested out. But if you think she’ll like something more abstract, watercolor or charcoal are excellent options to explore.

Choosing your artist on PYL

3. Artist & Background

Then, you’ll pick the background and artist. You have three options for the background—to use the original background in your photo, a solid background, or to let the artist choose. I chose to use the original background in my photo.

You also get to either pick your artist from a short list or let Paint Your Life’s team choose the best artist for your portrait. I let the Paint Your Life team choose for me. During this step, you can also select if you want the artist to sign your painting or not, and opt-in to receive a video of how your painting was created for an additional fee.

4. Upload

Next, you’ll upload your photo. If you need to crop your photo at all, make sure you’ve done that before you upload. You’ll also get the chance to leave a note for the artist. I wrote a short paragraph talking about the photo and why I was giving this to my girlfriend.

5. Size

Finally, you’ll pick the size of your portrait. I chose 14 x 22 inches.

My Portrait Experience

Original Paint Your Life photo
The original photo I submitted to Paint Your Life

This is the photo I submitted to Paint Your Life to be transformed into a hand-painted oil portrait for my girlfriend. I chose this picture because it was taken at a restaurant we went to for my birthday and we both liked the huge wall behind us adorned with colorful racks of wine bottles.

A few days after I submitted my photo, I received an email from Paint Your Life asking me to approve the final photo. This step is put in place so the artist has a chance to either accept your photo as is or suggest any minor edits such as cropping it to make it look better before they start painting. 

Then, I received another email notifying me that my artwork was being created by Kathy, the artist assigned to my portrait.

Finally, I received an email stating that my artwork was complete and asking me to approve the final portrait or request any small modifications. The entire process takes about two to three weeks.

Paint Your Life portrait in flower bush 1
The end result—my Paint Your Life Portrait

I was surprised at how soft and beautiful the colors were and how similar many aspects of the portrait looked compared to the actual photo. There’s something distinct about hand-painted art that catches your eye and differs from photographed or digitally-designed art. Hand-painted art exudes a natural aesthetic so many people love.

I was impressed at how accurately Kathy painted me. Admittedly, it’s off-putting to see yourself in a painted portrait at first, but she rendered me into art with wicked precision. The dude in the portrait looked almost exactly like me.

However, I did have one issue with the digital portrait at first glance. My girlfriend’s eyes didn’t look like how they do in real life, or in the original photo I submitted. So, instead of approving the final portrait, I requested a modification, which Paint Your Life makes incredibly easy.

Paint Your Life couple s portrait

I was able to click on the portrait exactly where I needed a modification and leave a detailed note for Kathy. I was also encouraged to upload any other reference photos that might help her while she was making my modification, so I uploaded another photo of my girlfriend that showed her eyes more closely.

Soon, I received an email that my final portrait had been completed with my requested modification. This time, Kathy got much closer to recreating my girlfriend’s eyes, so I clicked “approve” and picked out a beautiful black metal frame as the last step.

The Final Product

Paint Your Life couple s portrait in frame 1

The portrait arrived in a thin, securely-packed cardboard box and looked even better than what I had approved online. As you might guess, real hand-painted art is more captivating in real life than on a screen. But if you’ve ever been to a museum, I don’t need to tell you that. 

Model smiling with Paint Your Life portrait

My first reaction was how sturdy yet lightweight the metal frame was and how durable the hanging wire in the back felt. Paint Your Life doesn’t skimp on the materials for the canvas or the frame. This is designed to be a piece you hang up and have forever, and the materials live up to that sentiment.

The thin brush strokes over the canvas have a subtle texture you don’t get to see online. I was quite happy with the 14 x 22 size frame, too. If you’re getting a family portrait or a sprawling landscape painted, you would probably want a bigger option, but this size felt like a good fit for a couple.

Paint Your Life portrait details1

As I mentioned before, I thought Kathy nailed my picture in the final portrait. Save for my hands which look a tad soft and bulged, she rendered me pretty spot on. I’ve also heard that hands are notoriously tricky to paint.

However, my girlfriend didn’t love how her face and eyes were rendered and I agree. They look similar to hers but don’t reflect her features as accurately as mine were portrayed.

Her light green eyes look directly into the camera in the original photo I sent, and they pick up some of the camera’s flash. But in the portrait, they’re missing enough detail and seem to be looking elsewhere. 

Side by side portrait

I should have asked for one more modification to get her eyes just right. If you notice something is slightly off, don’t hesitate to request a modification. Paint Your Life is terrific about handling small changes to make sure your portrait is perfect. 

Paint Your Life also offers a 100% money-back guarantee within the first 30 days of receiving your portrait. This is a rare guarantee, especially for such a custom service, but it aligns with the brand’s goal of providing exceptional customer service.

Paint Your Life portrait details

Aside from my girlfriend’s eyes, we both loved the small details in this portrait. The glinting wine glasses, the textured wooden table, and the artistic rows of wine bottles gave it a stylized charm.

Customizability

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If you put time and consideration into choosing the right photo, art medium, and frame, and if you take the time to craft a note to your artist, you’ll increase the overall beauty and end result and help your artist deliver a portrait your partner will be smitten for.

Again, don’t be afraid to kindly request modifications to your portrait if needed, too.

You’re also able to send in multiple photos of individuals and have them transformed into a group portrait. So, if you’re Uncle Larry is always “checking the grill” when you all get together for the family photo, you can send one of him separately and have it painted into the photo with the rest of you.

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Hand-painted portraits are not just a thoughtful gift for a girlfriend or wife, but also for a parent’s birthday, a younger sister’s graduation, or a friend’s wedding anniversary. 

The sheer customizability of the service is what makes Paint Your Life so unique. I opted for an oil painting, but next time, I’d pick to get a watercolor painting created of a photo of my girlfriend and I in the countryside. The bright colors would liven up my office and remind me of all the times we’ve ventured out to wine country. 

Have fun choosing the theme or occasion, photo, and medium. These elements add to the experience and the gift is more thoughtful when you’ve selected everything from the type of art medium down to the color and style of the frame.

What Do Other Reviewers Say About Paint Your Life?

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Paint Your Life has over 13,000 reviews, averaging 4.9 stars. 

Reviewers consistently praise the intricate details, colors, and pure emotional value their custom portrait provided to their loved ones. 

Because this is such a personal service, the reviews and testimonials were deep and heartfelt.

I saw a story about grandparents who never got to meet their grandchildren. A family member used Paint Your Life to create a portrait of the grandparents holding the grandchildren and discussed how much the portrait meant to their entire family. 

My Thoughts Overall on Paint Your Life

What I Like

  • Paint Your Life offers a highly personal and customizable service.
  • You get to choose the art medium, artist, and even the frame.
  • You can request modifications from your artist to get your portrait just right.
  • The ordering process was simple through Paint Your Life’s online site.
  • The canvas, frame, and hanging wire are all durable and well-built.

What I Don’t Like

  • The people in your portrait, and certain details, might not look exactly like they do in the photo you submit.
  • It can be overwhelming to choose the right options for your portrait.
  • The price of the service with framing might feel expensive to some people.

Who Is Paint Your Life For?

Paint Your Life is for anyone who wants to remember special people, pets, and moments in their life. This makes for a tremendous, one-of-a-kind gift that’s both personal and deeply thoughtful. 

If you’re a guy on the hunt for a gift for his wife or girlfriend, a hand-painted portrait from Paint Your Life is a much more intimate gift than the generic items you’ll find in stores. 

Being able to pick a photographed moment and turn it into a portrait gives your partner something to hang on the wall and cherish forever. It transforms a photo that might otherwise live in the hidden depths of your photo collection into a piece of art to be admired.

Be thoughtful in choosing your photo, art medium, and frame, and take the time to write your artist a personal note and request modifications if needed. Doing so will help ensure your portrait is exactly how you imagined it.

The Verdict

Paint Your Life is a thoughtful and highly personalized custom art creation and delivery service. Turning a photo that would otherwise be buried in your photo gallery into a beautiful piece of hangable art is a unique gift you won’t find elsewhere.

The ability to choose between seven different art mediums and turn individual photos into one group portrait is a huge bonus of Paint Your Life. This allows you to be creative in choosing not only the style of the portrait but who is in it and what the background is. 

While my girlfriend and I loved the small details in our portrait like the glinting wine glasses and rows of wine bottles behind us, we wished other details like her eyes looked a bit more realistic. If you notice something is slightly off in your portrait, don’t be shy to request modifications from your artist. Paint Your Life has implemented this feature to ensure your portrait looks exactly how you want it to.

The more effort you put into choosing the right photo, leaving a thoughtful note for your artist, and requesting any small modifications if needed, the more beautiful and life-like your portrait will turn out.

If you want to give your girlfriend or wife, or anyone else in your life, a hand-painted portrait they can hang up, admire, and cherish, Paint Your Life is an exceptionally thoughtful gift.

Paint Your Life Personalized Portrait

Paint Your Life did a great job at transforming one of my favorite photos of my girlfriend and I into a hand-painted portrait. My advice? Take your time choosing the right photo, art medium, and frame, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications from your artist. If you do, you’ll wind up with a gorgeous portrait your girlfriend, wife, or anyone in your life will love.

Check Price

FAQs

Is Paint Your Life a real website?

Yes. Paint Your Life opened its studios in 2006 and has been delivering custom, hand-painted art ever since.

How long does Paint Your Life take?

The process can take anywhere from two to four weeks from when you place your order.

How does Paint Your Life work?

Simply choose your favorite photo, or set of photos, and send them to Paint Your Life to be transformed into a beautiful, hand-painted portrait in either oil, charcoal, watercolor, black or colored pencil, pastel, or acrylic.

Can I get a refund from Paint Your Life?

Yes. Paint Your Life offers a 100% money-back guarantee available within 30 days of receiving your order. Read Paint Your Life’s guarantee page to learn more.