I receive requests for custom hand-crafted watercolor house portraits from across the USA and have now created house portraits in 50 states and in 35 different architectural styles. With each commissioned home portrait I paint, I make sure to capture all those unique details and special memories that are imbued into each home, thereby including the warmth and personality of the home into my work of art. It would be hard to find a more original one-of-a kind gift idea.
And please don’t rule out your home because it is hard to see or there are obstacles. I don’t let these stand in my way in depicting the best view of any home. The evidence is below. . . see my little video.
“Home is where the heart is.” – Pliny the Elder
Find out what my clients are saying about their commissioned portraits.
My wife cried upon opening the Bristol, VA painting at Christmas. My seven-year-old grandson said, “Mammie are you crying because you like it or because you don’t?” She replied, “I’m crying because I LOVE it!”. Thank you for your work.
– David Leonard, VA
|“Leisa’s work is impeccable. She captured each small detail of the house where I grew up. She translated a lifetime of memories into a beautiful work of art. Not secondary to her talent is her warm personality that shines through in her artistry. My family and I will be treasuring this piece for many a year to come. Thank you again, Leisa! It was such a pleasure working with you.”
– Erin Moran, VA
|“We received your beautiful painting yesterday. It is absolutely gorgeous and it shows how much of yourself, heart and soul, you put into it. After all, our house deserves to have a portrait of itself — and now it has the best!”
– Dennis Bachmann, CA
|“I just love the painting. I put a lot of thought into the renovation and am especially pleased that you caught the little touches that mean so much to me. My closest friend in the neighborhood commented on the wonderful level of detail and told me how the painting makes her want to walk up to the front door for a visit. You caught so many of the details, we were amazed! It is such fun to see them lovingly portrayed through someone else’s eyes.”– Erika Siegel, MD
|“Well the painting was a home run…truly, everyone has remarked about what a wonderful job you did. All the little details you included (house numbers, pumpkins, rocking chair, etc.) and you captured the true colors of the house — way better than the photographs I provided. So thank you again. We are all thrilled with it.”
– Tina Weinheimer, IL
|“I LOVE the house portrait — it’s really beautiful! Great detail and perfect composition. Makes me want to buy our house all over again!”
– Karen Carr, NC
|“The painting arrived in excellent condition, and I love the colors and details. This will be a treasure for my whole family, and I know my mother will be delighted to receive it as a surprise gift. Thank you so much for choosing our home to create your wonderful art with.”
– Rebecca Bishop, MI
|“I am sitting here in my cozy family room gazing at the two house portraits that Leisa painted for us. Every time I look at them, I feel happiness and gratitude. We have lived in this house for 30 years and love it, but we never thought about having a portrait of it until we saw her work. Her watercolor detail is so exact that you feel you could walk into the painting. And her use of color and light is so pleasing to the eye. Because we so loved the painting she created of our house in the Spring, we sent her some photos of our house in the blizzard of 2016. She gave us the most beautiful rendition of our snow covered winter wonderland. We especially love the warm glow of the lights inside contrasting with the stark coldness of the snow outside.
What wonderful gifts she gave to us . . . and that we gave to ourselves! Thank you Leisa!”
– Marilyn Terzian, MD
Thinking of a House Portrait? Talk to the Artist.
I am happy to answer any questions and give you my recommendations on a house portrait idea you have, either of your own home for as a gift for a friend or loved one.
To contact me, just fill out this form and I will get right back to you. Or if you prefer, call me at 703-598-7360.
Here are the steps I take to create a house portrait.
First I start with a good set of photos. Then it is a matter of going through them and selecting the best one to use as the main photo. I use all the photos of course but having the right main photo is vital. It should be at an angle that compliments the house and shows it’s architectural features. It also helps that it is free from obstacles and blockages. But this is not always possible.
This next stage is a rough pencil sketch of the subject on the sheet of watercolor paper that I will use for the painting. I usually only take around 10 minutes on this step and I check it against my overlay to make sure it is correct at the end. If there are adjustments, this is the time to do them – while things can still be erased.
This is a much longer step. A detailed pen drawing of the home. This is where I pull out my set square to make sure the lines are straight. Not only do I include the main architectural features of the house with my pen, but also the finer details such as the wooden bench on the porch and the cool planters by the entrance. I use an archival quality, waterproof, artist pen. I don’t use black ink but prefer a dark brown as I feel it gives a softer look to the final painting. I use three different size tips. It’s very important to get these details right at this stage as it very tricky to try to change anything. I always take very close attention to the original photos of the house as I move forward with this step in order to prevent any mistakes.
Now the fun begins! This is my favorite part. Along with the pen drawing, this stage takes the longest amount of time. Additionally watercolor paint is pretty unforgiving. This means that unlike oil or acrylic paints, where you can simply cover up mistakes or change something you don’t like by adding additional layers of paint, this is not possible – or at least extremely risky – when using watercolor. The way I explain watercolor to people, and even students I am teaching, is that instead of using white paint you are replacing it with water. This is also why watercolor paintings are so magical as there is a certain translucency once the paint is applied to the paper. Just like water itself is translucent and reflective. You apply the painting in layers. I always start with the sky and the main blocks of color as you can see here.
Now I concentrate on painting the house and start filling in the details. You can also see how I have added more fine points to the surroundings of the house. The last step is adding the final touches which includes the very small details and shadow to give the painting contrast. I love portraying homes on a bright sunny day, such as this one, so I add the shadows at the very end. Note the dappled shade from the tree in the foreground. Being that the light is coming from the right in this case, I have also added shadow on the right side of the house, under the eaves as well as under the top balcony and entrance way. This gives the painting depth and more of a three dimensional look.
The final result is a painting that turns your home into a work of art!
Please watch the video below to see a video of my process in action.
The Cost of a House Portrait
My general price range for a house portrait is $350 to $800, depending on size and framing and to some degree the detail in the house itself.
Just as personal tastes vary, every home is uniquely different. so it is best to contact me directly so that I can answer all of your questions. It also helps if I can see photos of the subject in order to give an exact quote as well as my recommendations on the best angle, season, size etc. Call me or fill out the contact form on this page and I will get back to you promptly.
One house, four seasons and four cats!
This was a really fun project and a wonderful story. My client asked me to create four paintings of her childhood home in Wellesley, MA in each of the four seasons. She gave me details for each season and had a special request. That I include four different cats that her parents have had and loved over the years and the typical poses for each. Then she left me to it!
That Christmas she is presented an original seasonal painting to her parents (who still live in the home) as well as her two siblings. She and her husband are keeping one for themselves of course!
Please enjoy the beauty of the seasons here as well as my client’s story below. And see if you can find the four cats!
My Four Seasons – Four Cats story in the words of my client, Lesley Pisarra:
“My parents had decided to sell my childhood home in Wellesley, MA, which is a very beautiful and special place for me and my family. I immediately started to search online for house portrait artists, and as soon as I came across Leisa’s website and saw her beautiful work, I knew that she would do my family’s home justice.
“I sent Leisa photos of the house and we had a long telephone conversation in which she asked questions about all aspects of my home; how it was decorated at the holidays, what flowers were blooming, and the trees around the property. I decided I wanted four portraits, one for each season, to present to my family at Christmas. I also wanted to include four cats that my parents had over the years into the painting, which is something that Leisa hadn’t done before, but she was very enthusiastic about the idea and how personalized the artwork would be with the inclusion of pets. We even discussed each cat’s habits so she could appropriately place them in the artwork!
When Leisa completed the portraits, she emailed me images and I was completely floored. They each absolutely captured the warmth and beauty of the home, and every detail during each season was perfect. Even the flowering bushes were correct, the placement of the daylilies were exactly where they should be, and the holiday decorations were placed perfectly. The cats were there, one in each painting, and they looked absolutely adorable!”
One client with her very own house portrait series
It is my pleasure to capture the essence of a home for the owner in a way they will cherish for years, whether or not they are still living in the home.
It is not uncommon for me to work with the same client time and time again! Below are examples of multiple home portraits I created for a single homeowner. The first are homes she has owned, and the second are paintings she gave as gifts to family members.
How many art inspiring points does your home have?
If you are interested in learning about the 12 points that make a home art inspiring, CLICK HERE.