Whew, it’s off for Christmas

Pretty red brick

Pretty red brick

The latest commission went out in the mail yesterday. I don’t often do a picture quite that quickly, but I wanted to make sure it had time to get to its destination. I had a request for a pet portrait for Christmas over the weekend, but I decided to decline. I could have done it in time, but I would have been betting with the postal gods to get it there.  I don’t need the angst.

When I look at this one and the last one, they are so similar that at a brief glance, you might think they were the same.  Front porch, dark shutters, garage on the left, red brick, big front lawn.  This one was a little bit more of a challenge because of the smaller portrait size.  It was harder to get the detail in, so she got a slightly bigger size for free.  I just didn’t want to compromise by making the building smaller to fit a 10×8 size.  I ended up widening it to about 12×8 and was much happier with the effect.

She wanted to include the maple tree in on the left and I decided that would help the edges of the house.  The landscaping is mature, so that was easier.  I sketched the dog in on the lower right.  She knew he would be small given the scale of the building, but she felt his inclusion would add to the overall impact for the recipients.  I was happy to comply.

The last Christmas commission

The next commission

The next commission

Well, I didn’t have to wonder what to do next very long. On Wednesday, I e-mailed back and forth with a client and after a couple of hours she purchased a portrait listing from my etsy shop.  I guess it was the right place at the right time.

It will be a little bit of a challenge.  The house is almost as large as the last one, but she only wanted an 8×10.  As an interesting little aside, she wants the owners’ dog on the lawn.  I told her he would be rather small given the scale of the house, but she was fine with that.  He was old and she thought it would be nice to have a memory of him on the lawn as well as the house.

I have ended up widening the picture some, so it is more like an 8×12.  I just couldn’t go any smaller and still be able to work with it.  As it is, I am using some watercolors to do the tight spaces between the upper deck railings and next to the door side lites.  The pastels sticks are just too thick easily in the narrow areas.  The landscaping is quite colorful and should be fun to fill in.

All colored up

Pastels on the commission

Pastels on the commission

The picture went out on Monday.  I used mostly the pastels for the color, but did some fine work with the colored pencils.  There is so much detail crammed into the space, that I needed to edge some areas with the pencils to neaten them up. The finished drawing is a bit browner and less red for the bricks in the photo, but all in all, it turned out fine.  Since it is a newer home, I enlarged the greenery and added some flowers.  I almost forgot to put in the wicker bench and side table on the porch but luckily noticed it before it was too late.  There were also some wreaths on the doors which added a bit of color under there

The buyer is happy it is getting out so soon because he might be able to get it framed in time for Christmas.  Now I’m back to deciding what my next project will be.

Bricks, inked

Brick house, inked

Brick house, inked

I spent two days inking this large house up. It is a good thing it is a 14″x9″ portrait. There is so much going on, if it were any smaller, a lot of detail would have been lost. As it is the windows and shutters are just big enough to color with the pastels.  I enlarged the landscaping and added flowers after discussing it with the owner.  I wish there were some trees planted in the front yard, but I’ll have to make do with the row on the back property line.

The coloring has gone quickly and I still hope to have it in the mail tomorrow.  Maybe he still can get it framed up in time for Christmas.

Back to the bricks

Big brick house

Big brick house

I got started on the next Christmas commission on Monday. Here is the preliminary pencil sketch. The drawing is more complicated than it might seem. There are plenty of turned gables and hip roof lines to go around, as well as mullioned windows and brick accents.  Also, it is an attractive house, but only has the starts of its landscaping.  The shrubs and trees are small yet, so I have made them more mature.

I have started the inking and hope to be done with it tomorrow.  Still on schedule to get it out on Monday.

Phoenix color

Southwestern stucco house

Southwestern stucco house

Coloring this one was a little harder than it might seem. Stucco is always a challenge because of its lack of definition. I tried to use color variation to indicate texture and I think it turned out well.  Thank heavens for the greenery though.  It would have looked awfully stark, or just much plainer, without the addition of the shrubs. However, I must admit I am partial to having living landscaping around any building.  The tile roof was a first for me too.  It was a kind of pinky, orange color which tied in nicely with the brick sidewalk accents.  Anyway, it’s already packaged and off in the mail tomorrow.

I received another Christmas home portrait commission last week.  It should be fun to do and now I don’t have to make a decision on my next project.  I pick up the pictures today and will start the pencil sketch tomorrow.  My goal is to have it ready to go out next Monday.  Quick work, but doable.

Phoenix, Inked

Phoenix home inked

Phoenix home inked

I had my layout questions for the portrait edges answered with another set of photos and was finally able to ink in the home portrait.  As it turns out, there was an interesting little stone wall behind the car.

This should color up nicely.  The stucco is pale, but there are orange accent strips across the facade as well as the southwestern tile roof.  The gate on the left is a pretty golden color.  The greenery in the yard which includes some red flowers will soften the architecture.  I should finish it sometime this week and get it in the mail after the holiday in plenty of time for Christmas.

After that I’ll have to figure out what to do next.  I’m hoping my etsy store picks up some holiday purchases.  Last year I had a couple of things going by now.  Maybe the last minute purchasers will be coming through.

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