I love being a part of my client’s plans to do something special for someone else! This was the case recently when I was contacted by a Realtor who was interested in having me do a painting of her client’s home that she could give as a special thank-you gift. When we first spoke, my client Maryann knew that her client would love a painting of their home, but she wasn’t sure what medium or size would be best. She knew she didn’t want something as formal as an oil painting, but wasn’t sure that a watercolor fit the bill either. Maryann mentioned perhaps doing a pen-and-ink drawing, but asked for my thoughts.
When I asked about the pen-and-ink idea, Maryann said she liked the “clean” look of this – so that gave me great direction. To help make sure the final piece represented the house, I recommended using black and white watercolor along with the pen and ink to help define the contrast of the black shutters and surrounding trees without creating too “busy” a look with the cross-hatching I would otherwise need to define areas with more value. Maryann loved this idea, so we just needed to figure out the size and the image I would use.
For the size, Maryann wanted something large enough to be able to see details of the house, but also small enough to make it easy to find a place to hang it. Using standard sizes (which makes it easy to find a frame!), I recommended either 9”x12” or 11”x14” to address these goals – and we decided 11x14 would work perfectly. For the picture, since Maryann is the Realtor for the house, I had plenty of great shots to choose from! I ultimately selected the image below because it shows that major features of the house while also having some interest and mood with the slight angle, great sunlight/shadows and the beautiful scenery of the surrounding trees and rock wall.
With all of this decided, I was off to drawing! The biggest challenge in drawing a house is to get all of the proportions correct, which was my initial focus. With my pencil drawing laid out, I then wanted to create a simple, clean look with the watercolor and ink that would represent the house but not look too much like a technical rendering.
Below is the final drawing – which I am happy to report Maryann was thrilled with!