I just wanted to agree with most everyone that's responded. I really love the first painting and I got a little teary eyed when I read how your step mother reacted. Your first rendering of her might not have been a magazine cover beautiful picture of how she looks, but it looked real, and strong, and rawly clean. Your second was beautiful too, but in an entirely different way. It looked "beautiful on purpose", not by default. It looked like you'd meant to paint her as a model, not as a natural beauty.
I have a little story to share. My mother didn't say anything nearly so hurtful, but it still hurt nontheless.
For mother's day I made the biggest thread doily I'd ever made before. It took me weeks and weeks of non stop 8 hour crochetathons. It turned out to be 29 inches across, and used three balls of #10 thread.
Here's a picture of the finished product:
My mom did like it, but about three seconds after she opened it, she said "oh, that's beautiful, but you know what I'd really
like? An 80 inch long crocheted table cloth!"
Like my gift was good, but not good enough.
It's hurtful, but isn't there a saying along the lines of "you always hurt the ones you love"?