This home portrait was commissioned for the McCandless Family. As you can see, their home is a lovely, two-story BRICK dwelling. ... Oh my ... all that brick. I was anxious to challenge myself with this piece, as brickwork can be tricky to capture with all of its shadings of color and texture.
I settled on the above photo to use as a reference for their painting, as it gives a respectful perspective of this home's grandeur and grace. Of course, the final painting will have this home nestled in a winterscape.
If you have followed my previous posts, you will know that I must ... and I mean "must" ... paint to movies. It's silly, I know ... but movies tend to be my artistic muse when creating. Depending upon my mood and the subject that I paint usually dictates the movie selection. In this case ... I was feeling a bit English. I know - the house favors more southern architecture, but it feels a bit regal with its columns - and when "regal," I think England ... and well, you catch the drift.
So - the movie pic? The Holiday ...
Not only does this movie have fantastic actors (Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz & Jude Law) plus a bit of humor and so much heart, but it also embraces the beauty and coziness of winter that I like to keep in mind when painting this season. It's a must see if you enjoy romantic comedies ... one of my ultimate favorites!
So, with the film rolling, my coffee steaming and my pencils sharpened, I began sketching their home ...The challenges here are angles, size and placement ... Thankfully, I do have an eraser!!
Now, I began the trickiest part of this painting ... you guessed it ... the brickwork. Yikes...
There may be an easier way to do this, as I create through trial and error; however, I find that in order to create the depth of shading and texture, I must paint in layers and then add in the detail of mortar.
This pic is taken on an angle, therefore it appears that the house is leaning in on itself - I assure you it is not. :)
Next, the windows and trim to give that cozy-warmth and detail.
It's funny ... one would think that a winter scene would be the easiest to paint, since everything is just white -- when in actuality, it is more time consuming, as the foreground must be created in order to lay the snow over top. Otherwise, no depth is achieved. At this point, the front lawn had not been painted yet ... what you see is blank canvas - not snow.
And, alas, the final painting ...... a winter's blanket covering the McCandless's home in white, while warmth of golden light filters from within.
I consider this painting one of my greatest challenges to replicate, considering the brickwork, trim and detail. Because of this, it is one that I truly cherished ... thank you, Nancy, for the opportunity to confront my hesitations, explore my craft and create this painting for your family. It was an experience that I treasure.
Challenges are what makes life interesting.
Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
- Joshua J. Marine