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A Cover With Some Surprises

The work I did on a cover last month made me feel like I was flying by the seat of my pants! It also led me into some unfamiliar territory in Photoshop:

The cover article, for North Shore magazine, was about rescuing a W.P.A. mural from a municipal building in suburban Chicago. I originally planned on painting the mural into my watercolor painting, but changed my mind after I saw a photo of it.
The photo of the W.P.A. mural.
The art director and I agreed that I should graft this photo into my artwork instead (can I really do this?). After some hair-raising moments with the clock ticking, the graft was complete and the art looked great to both of us.
The first version of the cover.
The next day the art director called back to ask if I could replace the "mural as a framed painting" with the more truthful "mural on a chunk of decaying brick wall"? More hair-raising moments with the clock ticking as I figured out how to do another more complicated graft. In the end, I'm happy with the cover and I learned what Photoshop's magic eraser tool is for.
The final version of the cover.
I ask myself: Can I remember how to do this again? Do deadlines have a way of making me perform tricks that I can never repeat?