Home Sweet Home

Happy New Year!

If you live in Ontario, you likely have experienced the Blizzard that just hit our area. If not, let me tell you what a wonderfully safe place a house is.

That brings me to a project I recently did and if you are interested follow me behind the scenes:

I was asked to paint a recently remodelled old farmhouse. The first thing of course was to meet – in this case – with the client and the owners and get a feeling for the project. I always look for “the soul” or some deeper understanding of everything I’m supposed to paint, wether it is a person, a pet or in this case a house.

First of course I need to get the facts right, what is expected of me from my client, from the owners and what can I offer to do within a certain timeframe and a certain price range. Then I go exploring:

To me it is equally important to get a good understanding of the architecture, material and colours of the house, as well as its background and inhabitants. Therefore I walk around my “model” preferably with both, a sketchbook and a camera.  Even if I already know from what side I want or am supposed to paint my object, I always want to know the overall picture, so I have to walk around. If possible, I also like to get an idea of the interior and the people and pets who live in the house. This all helps me to “grasp” the “soul”, something a photo can’t show. If I can even get some history and background on the house and its family, even better!

Here are a few photos I took. Look at the sky. Wasn’t it a splendid day?

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I can’t stress enough to take many photos yourself. Back in my studio I always wish I took more.

Usually I don’t do “nothing” with this project for a few days. I work on different other things, all the time thinking and designing in my head. I prime my canvas, give it some structure if required or smooth it even more, depending on what I intend to do. Then when the painting is pretty much planned in my head, I put the canvas on my easel and start working.

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I usually start with a quick charcoal sketch on the canvas to decide how I want to use my space.

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Then I remove the charcoal with a soft cloth and replace it with a thin layer of diluted oil paint. By now I have a pretty good understanding of the architecture and can start to paint. The fun part begins.

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When I’m at this stadium I usually show the painting to my clients for approval. As you can see I left out the big tree in front of the house and only added its shadow and reflections in some windows to not take away from the house. As soon as I complete all the changes required and add all the details, the traditional oil painting is left for a few months to dry before I finish it with varnish. The painting will be good as keepsake for a few hundred years to come.

If you like to see the finished painting, please check back in April on my website.

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