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My Houston Home Portrait Favorites

My Houston Home Portrait Favorites

House Portraits
Houston Homes and Watercolor Memories... Being that I am currently in the process of putting my coffee table book together, it occurred to me some months ago that I had virtually nothing to show for the state of Texas.  I mean it's only one the 2nd biggest state geographically and the 3rd most populous state in the country!  I somehow had the idea that there would be nothing but boring dusty ranch houses, lots of brown and a distinct lack of anything resembling growth and green. Upon arriving in Houston I discovered nothing could be further from the truth.  I first feasted on some of city's oldest landmarks such as the famous art deco Houston Town Hall and the stunning Neo-Byzantine subjects standing tall on the campus of Rice University.…
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The Art of Journaling

The Art of Journaling

Journals and Diaries
Keeping Journals and Diaries  - an exploration into yourself and the world around you. In this wise, I'm not sure if I am dated, or ahead of my time. For centuries, long before this ever-expanding digital age we live in today,  one recorded their impressions of the world around one, of nature, events and people along with ones thoughts, dreams and creative ideas in journals or dairies. Regular folks, not just artists, would draw their special memories, often imbue them with color, include their thoughts, ideas, musings, poems and special messages. It was something they could then reflect on later. Often they would pass these journals onto their children who would in turn pass them on further. Leonardo de Vinci and Virginia Wolfe are famous examples of this. Today this…
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My 10th Historic Preservation Award  – Presented in St. Louis!

My 10th Historic Preservation Award – Presented in St. Louis!

Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award
Portrait of a home  - from decayed abandonment to a brand  new life! My 10th award goes to . . .  Ray Simon and Mel Pashea of St. Louis for their stellar actions to save and fully restore two pre-Civil War cottages that had been abandoned for over a decade. [caption id="attachment_8255" align="aligncenter" width="640"] The unveiling of the St. Louis Award painting[/caption] Ray Simon, an architect and noted rehabber in Benton Park, had the vision to rescue the two crumbling relics on Missouri Ave. Together with partner Mel, they transformed the fading structures into what is often described as one of the coolest properties in the neighborhood. I was honored to have St Louis Ninth Ward Alderman Dan Guenther speak to the gathering of friends and neighbors and relate stories…
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Watercolor home portraits — seeing both sides of the story. . .

Watercolor home portraits — seeing both sides of the story. . .

House Portraits
House portraits from the back are also cool . . . We all see the front view of a home, with its curb appeal and character shining through. But have you ever stopped to wonder what the back of some of these homes look like?  You might be surprised -- and intrigued! Here are a number of recent portrait commissions I have completed in California, Florida, Texas and Virginia, where the owners asked me to paint both views of their home. [caption id="attachment_8218" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Right on the waters edge, this is the elegant front view of a home in Tarpon Springs, Florida.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8217" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] As you can imagine, the view from this side looking out across the bay is totally spectacular.  I am glad I had the…
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NEWSFLASH!  Meet my latest historic preservation hero!

NEWSFLASH! Meet my latest historic preservation hero!

Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award, News
Presentation of my award in Tarpon Springs, Florida. I am currently in Florida and in travel mode, while working on new house portrait subjects for my coffee table book. I soon discovered that the most unique thing about Florida architecture is the color palette  – from soft coastal pastels to striking bursts of orange, blue and gold. [caption id="attachment_7990" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Florida Beach Cottages[/caption] I was introduced to the laid back coastal city of Tarpon Springs by a friend who lives there. Not only is it the most historic city in the state but Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US!  And being that I love Greece ... I decided to look further.  In the early 1900’s sponge diving was introduced to…
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My St. Louis House Portrait Series is taking shape…

My St. Louis House Portrait Series is taking shape…

House Portraits
Painting historic homes in Greater St. Louis Having made our home in St. Louis for a couple of months now, I continue to find new and fascinating house portrait subjects.  Therefore I decided to update my initial blog post to reflect my growing collection of portraits and the architectural diversity they represent. There is certainly no shortage of architectural charm and character in this grand old city.  And while it's a really good thing I like brick  -- because historic St Louis is all about brick -- I especially took the time to select some non-brick or at least painted brick homes. One I found in Clayton is a beautiful Spanish style house and another is one of the oldest Colonial homes in this city. Another Clayton treasure I discovered…
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Helping to save the historic Washington Canoe Club!

Helping to save the historic Washington Canoe Club!

Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award, News
My painting of this Potomac architectural treasure! I recently had the honor of being commissioned to do a painting of the famous Washington Canoe Club. Nestled in a wooded setting on the shores of the Potomac River, the Club is part of the Georgetown neighborhood.  I thought you might be interested in seeing this painting and in learning a little about the Club’s rich history, which I just became aware of after reading the Washington Canoe Club's website. I further learned that the Club is in the midst of a historic effort to restore their boathouse, which has twice been identified by the DC Preservation League in its annual list of “Endangered Places.”   I have decided to help this vital cause. I am selling high quality prints of this original painting…
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Our St. Louis Adventure Begins!

Our St. Louis Adventure Begins!

News
St Louis, a city of contrasts . . . from architectural wonderment to urban grit Well it's official!   Bruce and I have now made our home in the grand old city of St Louis, Missouri! Pretty well every time we announce that fact to anyone -- even locals in St. Louis -- their first response is, "Really?" and their next response is "Why?"  The locals usually quickly recover however and blurt out how much they love their city and all its quirks; and how happy they are to see some inbound traffic for a change. What's more, they mean it. From one who loves architecture in all states and forms, I like the natural, almost organic urban grit of St. Louis. I'd take that any day over the politically managed…
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My Coffee Table Book… only four more states to go!

My Coffee Table Book… only four more states to go!

House Portraits
Homes in 46 states have now been turned into architectural works of art! I am excited to update you about my upcoming architectural coffee table book.  Entitled Art Inspiring Homes Across the USA, the book will showcase homes I have painted in every state across America, and celebrate their diversity, elegance and individual style from state to state. While my artistic inspiration is the vast and captivating array of architecture one finds in every corner of this land, my fascination also lies with the individuals and families who with their hands, skill or artistic design, brought each and every one of these architectural forms into being, creating both a footprint and legacy that we enjoy today. Since my last update I have created portraits in four new states. The first…
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Spring and the love of a mother . . .

Spring and the love of a mother . . .

House Portraits, Uncategorized
Mom: The glue that holds the home together . . .  It suddenly occurred to me today that perhaps it's no mistake that Mother's Day is celebrated in the Spring, that wonderful season of love, hope, youth and growth. Did you know that the earliest history of Mothers Day dates back to the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to maternal goddesses?  More recently, mothers were celebrated in the 1600s in England. The day was called Mothering Sunday where children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their mother.  On the occasion, servants, apprentices and other employees staying away from their homes were encouraged by their employers to visit their mothers and honor them. Traditionally children brought with them gifts and in other nations have observed similar days.…
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