Stepping on toes? I CAN DANCE!

For probably three years, maybe more, a friend has been asking me to "freshen up" a painted iron sculpture of his.  The piece lives outside on his patio and I concurred that it definitely needed some love - Mother Nature had stolen it's colors.  I can still remember encountering it a number of years ago and thinking it was a pretty wild piece made of reinforcement bars, car parts, heavy sheet metal and railroad spikes!  The artist took those ingredients, welded them together then, apparently, gleefully painted the piece as he or she fancied.  Well, sculptor I am not.  Nor can I weld, so I appreciated that aspect of the work.  As for the painting?  Well, after close inspection, it seemed like painting that had been done by a sculptor!  No offense to the sculptors out there! My friend was away but gave me the go ahead to work on the bird.  I had intentions of following the original artist's designs and I snapped a bunch of BEFORE photos prior to starting any fresh base colors.  Here is where the "stepping on toes" part comes in...  I REALLY did not like the painting on the piece.  Was it right to change it?  To follow MY artistic instinct?  Truthfully, I didn't have a choice, I could NOT reproduce what was done before.  Sure, I tried...  But it wasn't long into the work that I realized, instead of stepping on toes,  I COULD DANCE!  I did what I wanted to do and felt waaaaay better about the process and the results.

I got to know the bird pretty well (I bet better than my friend knows her) and the bird and I are buddies now.  My friend is still away so I'm waiting on pins and needles to hear from him as to his thoughts on my variations.  My last thoughts?  I wonder if Mother Nature will fade my work and she'll need to be freshened up again.  If I do it, will I step on my own toes?  Or, if someone else does it, will they too have the desire to DANCE?!