Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A House Portrait with a Twist

A good friend of mine moved to Florida a few months ago (even though I tried my darndest to talk her out of it!) I guess icy cold winters and shoveling snow can't compare to beaches and sunshine.

Her husband and daughter wrote to me shortly after they arrived in the Sunshine State and asked if I would paint a portrait of the house they had left behind. It was to be a birthday gift for my friend, Judy.

What made this house portrait a little different, though, was that they wanted me to paint the back of the house and to focus more on the yard and the pavilion than on the structure of the house itself. I was a little taken aback at first, but then I realized that they were right, After all, isn't the back yard where most of the living takes place and the memories are made? 

After doing my preliminary drawing and inking the lines, I masked out the foreground weeds and flowers using masking fluid. That way, I could apply washes to the yard area without having to paint around a lot of fiddly little bits.

I spattered more masking fluid to suggest the fine spray of white baby's breath that was growing among the butterfly bush blossoms.

I painted the first light green wash on the yard area, then masked some leaves on the tree that extends into the left side of the painting.

The house was painted and shadows added.

Bricks and roof shingles were indicated with a few strokes of watercolor here and there.

The flowers were painted with the lightest tones, then medium shades, and finally the darkest accents.

A final spattering of paint in the grass and trees to add some texture..

and it was finished! I boxed it up, shipped it off and waited hear how Judy liked her surprise.

She loved it, and agreed that the backyard view was the way to go. It reminds her of morning coffee in the pavilion, family cookouts on a warm summer evening, and a lifetime of happy memories - a little piece of her Pennsylvania life hanging on her wall in Florida.


  1. wow... what a beautiful painting. That is a lovely gift!

  2. The backyard is gorgeous. I can see why they wanted you to focus on the backyard! I am sure your friend will love the painting.

  3. I love your paintings, Leslie. You make me want to live in the homes and gardens you capture. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Thanks for all the nice comments, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


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