Friday, August 17, 2012

Beginning a Home Portrait - The Initial Sketch

My newest custom painting is a portrait of a beautiful home in California. The first thing I do is to gather all the photos that the client sent me. Putting them together can be a challenge especially when there is no complete view of the house which is the case with this home. A large tree blocks the view from the street.

So it's a good thing the client sent me lots of photos from various angles:

I start with a rough sketch to get the proportions, then right on top of the sketch I make a detailed drawing in pencil including shading. I need this drawing for two reasons:
  1. Any paintings are easier for me to do with spontaneous brushstrokes if I have done the work of figuring out the composition and values (darks and lights) ahead of time. This is especially true when architecture is involved.
  2. Since a pencil drawing is easy to change,  I send the client the image of the drawing before I begin painting. If anything needs fixing, now is the best time to do it:

The client writes, "Lovely! I'm so pleased and impressed." She thinks it's a good idea that I moved the tree to the left side so it doesn't block the house and that I eliminated power lines in the distance. The Jasmine shrub near the garage should have one trunk rather than three, so I will change that. Then, since she is pleased, I can turn this into a watercolor painting. I'll post the steps I use to do the watercolor next time!

I'm happy to take custom orders! Please contact me for a custom painting or to have a print made of a painting you like.
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