The Finished House Portrait

Finished House Portrait

Well, the portrait is finished and shown to the client who is delighted. I don’t usually allow myself satisfaction, but even I think that this one turned out well. It just has to be mounted, which I shall do in the new year. It isn’t required until the middle of January so that should work out nicely

Basically, all that I needed to do since the last post, was to put in the shadows. Half the gravel drive was covered by shade from a large tree just off-stage, which also darkened the hedge. Some intricate shadow underneath the porch gave shape to the covered interior, and even the cartwheel stands out more now from the wall

Some dark detailing was added to the shrubs on the left. Somewhere in the deep tunnel made by those shrubs is a white garden gate, which I have shaded. Most of this I had to guess, with the help of some alternative references

I enjoy house portraits. I’m not sure why. This one will go on my website one day

But for now to resume my exhibition work, as time does not stand still

At this time of year, may I wish all who read my blog,warmest greetings and good fortune in the coming year

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House Portrait: Part Finished

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Getting there but not quite. Still some detailing to be done

Apart from changing some of the trees on the right-hand side, I have kept as faithfully as possible to the subject. I have left out some of the dark coniferous foliage that was intruding in the right-hand corner. I didn’t like it, and it was very much “in your face”, and so detracted from the house, which should remain the star of the show. I hope the client agrees with me, but I could always put some in, if she insists.

I put a distant tree in behind the ridge of the roof, just to alleviate that line. The sky itself is bland, as I wanted the building to come forward. For the roof colour I glazed burnt sienna over raw sienna, and then when bone dry, glazed light red over the burnt sienna. I did the same for the brickwork, hopefully to give an impression of bricks being sunlit.

I have just started to put in some of the shadow, but have by no means completed. As soon as you do that, the building takes on a third dimension, and I love watching the house come towards me. Once the shading on the house is complete, I shall put some dark shadow on the hedge to the right. As well as that, dark shadow on the gravel, about halfway, which will help to make the rest of the drive, look bright. That is the plan

On the left-hand side I see from other pictures, that there is a white gate deep amongst the bushes which is just visible, so I will need to include that, as well as some extra dark in the shrubs, as well as shadows from them.

Still some way to go, but being a mad time of the year, I am reduced to little and often, which I don’t mind, as I can judge each stage as it dries out. As we all know, the difference between the wet pigment and the dried-out colour is quite significant.

Every so often, I take pains to point out, that I am not formally qualified to teach painting, but if you like watching me work, and if you find what I do to be helpful, then I am very pleased to welcome you to my blog. Especially welcome are more recent followers, whom perhaps I haven’t addressed before

House Portrait

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I have interrupted the study of the bridge over the Basingstoke canal, as I have been lucky enough to be given a commission for a house portrait. This is the first this year and it is only December. Last year I was doing something from the web site every other month.

This will be a gift for a couple moving after 40 years in this lovely house, and a painting will make a lovely memento. I do always feel privileged to be entrusted with this sort of task, and naturally will give the job my very best attention

This will be presented by another family member, and will be a surprise for the couple concerned. My job will be to make it a pleasant one

Crazy time of the year, of course and many things happening, year end, which I am involved in, so I am working on the project during spare moments. Luckily I am not under much pressure to complete to a deadline

So far I have prepared a working sketch with tonal work, which will help me place the details in my head and also let me know where the shadows are. I will flash the sketch up next, so you can see where I have got to. Next, the tedious bit, moving the drawing onto watercolour paper, but it has to be done

By way of a PS, we had our annual art exhibition at the week-end. By we I mean the Pirbright Art Club, and I am pleased to say that I sold “Salt Mills at Trapani, Sicily”. The painting is somewhere in the archives if you wanted to check it out. So, after a very slow start, sales have not been too bad during the second half of the year

Working Sketch

Again, because of the importance of the task, I have used a grid to get architectural details in the right place, I hope

I love house portraits, and am looking forward to getting back to this one

From Sketch to Finished Painting

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The finished house portrait

Just a pity that the camera leeches out some of the colour, try as I might to avoid it happening. The original has a much softer tone

This was an interesting commission, and of course follows on from the last post about the value of the preliminary sketch. The lights and darks from the tonal sketch were invaluable as a reference. What was so delightful about this subject was the strong light coming from the left and low at that.

After transferring the drawing onto watercolour paper, I bathed the whole thing in a mix of Naples Yellow and Raw Sienna. There was very little sky in the frame, so I saw little point in trying to introduce a sky colour. I have used this neutral sky on several occasions before and it works well, when you need to soften the subject, and also focus on a subject, so pertinent  when you are doing a house portrait.

I usually paint roof tops with Burnt Sienna over the Raw Sienna. This time, as it was a commission, and therefore being more careful, I did some research. Some people use Light Red and some too use Indian Red, I was told. After a couple of trials, I elected to use Light Red, which I found rather pleasing and closer to the reference photograph.

The dark shadow was a mix of Violet and Transparent Brown, always successful. Some orange brickwork and one or two red roses to lead the eye

I was pleased with the result. A nice soft portrait of a period house, which was not unlike a sepia photograph, evocative of the period and somehow timeless.

From here, I can rest from commissions. I love doing them as they challenge me with something new, but I have exhibition commitments from March, which seems a long way off but not really. I have stock enough to do an exhibition now, but most have been seen this year, those that I have left unsold that is.

That means a new collection, so best get started