Architectural paintings of homes – Before & After

Some of my most challenging watercolor house portraits . . .

I’m making a plug for all artists who like me, make their living from ORIGINAL hand-crafted one of a kind art.  Yes I am talking about the “old-school” way of doing things where only ONE painting was created of a subject, brought about by the skilled hands of artists and crafts-people alike.

People today often talk about simply “photo-shopping” things away, or creating “digitally-modified” art.  My view is that while this is the “easy” way to do things, there is too much reliance on this route.

Here one good reason why.  Have a look at this stunning Queen Anne home in Alameda CA which I recently completed. It was built in the 1870’s and has been in the family of the current owner since 1941. Right there in the photo is an ugly power pole and lines as well as a tree that hides one of the nicest features of the home. Now look at my original pen and watercolor painting below.  Realize that I have not changed the house at all — and never do  —  but have simply removed  or move obstacles. In this case I also helped out the garden so it looks the way it usually does when it does not have to contend with several months of drought!

This home was relatively easy however.  My “challenging house portraits” go from best to worst!

Queen Anne home in Almeda California
Alameda, CA — BEFORE
Alameda, CA — AFTER

In historic areas such as Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, where the homes are usually right up against the sidewalk and street, parked cars are one of the biggest obstacles.  The way I handle that is to either sketch (if I’m right there) or take photos of what’s behind the cars so as not to miss any details.

Old Town Alexandria, VA — BEFORE
Old Town Alexandria — AFTER

With this commissioned painting,  I didn’t have the cars but lots of foliage and I definitely wanted to include the lovely flowering Crepe Myrtle trees.

Albert St, Old Town Alexandria, VA
Albert St, Old Town Alexandria, VA – BEFORE
Albert St, Old Town Alexandria - AFTER
Albert St, Old Town Alexandria – AFTER

Another free tree trimming and a general tidy up was undertaken with this one revealing an attractive Victorian style home with interesting stained glass windows.

Sierra Madre, CA (550x462)
Sierra Madre, CA — BEFORE
Sierra Madre, CA (550x456)
Sierra Madre, CA — AFTER

This French Chateau Tudor in Burbank, CA was really worth exposing!  Lots of fun creative detail went into this house.

Burbank CA (550x418)
Burbank, CA — BEFORE
Burbank, CA (550x418)
Burbank, CA – AFTER

The challenge with this one was that this one the best of a few photos the clients could give me of her friends home on the Mississippi. She wanted it as a surprise gift for friend.  As you can see in the AFTER version, I transformed its gloominess and made it a nice sunny day.

Mississippi River House WI (550x417)
Mississippi River House WI — BEFORE
Mississippi River House WI (550x403)
Mississippi River House WI — AFTER

With this house commission, to add to the power pole and tree right in front of the house, there were also major road works occurring right in frontl!

Old Town Alexandria (2) (550x514)
Old Town Alexandria, VA — BEFORE
Old Town Alexandria (436x550)
Old Town Alexandria, VA – AFTER

The difficulty with this one is obvious — where’s the house?  This one came about when one of my house portrait clients asked me to do a painting of her mother’s home in Rockville, Maryland.  Being that the gift was to be a surprise, the photos could not be taken while on the property as it would give it all away.

Rockville, MD (550x388)
Rockville, MD — BEFORE
Rockville, MD (550x417)
Rockville, MD — AFTER

So don’t get the idea that just because your home is not picture perfect for the camera, it can not look stunning in an original pen and water portrait with a little bit of artistic license.    And fortunately, I like challenges!

If you have a house portrait subject in mind, you know how to reach me.  I am always happy to hear from you and answer questions.

Cheers, Leisa