Moving onto the next step…
Over the years I’ve travelled an estimated 20,000 miles and created around 2,500 portraits of homes and historic buildings. These range from homes in 35 different architectural styles, as well as city halls, churches, old school houses, family barns, lake homes and holiday cabins.
I have always been fascinated with the changes in architectural styles as I travel across the country, especially when it comes to where people live, because to me, architecture is about people, family and community.
The reasons for those changes are as varied as local weather conditions, cultural diversity and available building resources such as local stone, clay, brick and timber. Examples are stucco Spanish Revivals in California, stunning log cabins in Colorado, adobe dwellings in Arizona and one can find historic Federal and Georgian style homes in almost every area in the country.
I always had a dream to compile a coffee table book that includes architectural paintings across the USA. With this end in mind, a few years ago I made it my mission to create portraits of homes and historic buildings in every state in America. Recently I achieved that goal and to celebrate this I put together a short video that shows my journey and takes one on an architectural tour across the country. http://leisacollins.com/my-architectural-coffee-table-book-project/
There were definitely some challenges along the way, including some “hold-out states” which were generally harder to get to or find subjects for. These are the portraits for the last three states, including Wyoming, Hawaii and South Dakota.
The technique I use in creating my portraits, is to first do a detailed ink drawing and then do a watercolor painting on top of it. I love to include all those little details that make each home so special. Just like people, I believe that every home or building I paint has its own personality and is imbued with special memories and happy family times.
Additionally, I don’t just focus on the building, but always include the entire surroundings, such as the trees and garden flowers.
Throughout my travels, I soon realized that it’s the homeowner who’s the real hero of this story. Especially owners of historic homes. Taking on restoration project is truly a labor of love.
I would like to thank all those people I met along the way, for their incredible hospitality and for sharing the stories and history about their home which I’ve been collecting for my book.
So now that I have portraits from every corner of the country, it’s time to move towards the bigger undertaking: the writing and compilation of the book. One of the hardest parts of this project will be selecting the paintings to feature in it, as I would like to include the all!
I’ll keep you updated on my forward progress.