CAPTURING A SPECIAL SETTING OR SUBJECT
A SPECIAL PROCESS ~ Creating original fine art for clients is one of the most rewarding things about being a fine artist. More often than not, they become friends in the process.
VINTAGE STRUCTURES I LOVE ~ There are dozens of architectural styles ~ and I appreciate them all. However, the details I love the most are often found in handsome older structures ~ a deep fascination with me since I first picked up a paint brush some forty-plus years ago.
PERSONAL PORTRAITS ~ In addition to portraits of homes, parks and landmarks, I also create fine art of people and pets. See my "Personal Portraits of Loved Ones and Pets" below. They change so quickly that many clients appreciate a special moment in time captured.
OUR HOMES ~ In the image here, I'm exhibiting my art at Spokane Preservation Advocates Annual Tour of Historic Homes at Russ and Sara Weaver-Lundberg's featured "Storybook" cottage on Overblfuff. The painting I created for them is on top the left side of the buffet.
Highlight ~ Learn about Sara's connection to the tiny brick structure on Grand near Saint John the Evangelist, once home to Lindaman's Bistro (missed by many). Find the art of it in the South Hill Collection pdf under "Public Buildings ~ Beloved Churches, Schools and Small Businesses."
OUR "CASTLES" ~ For many of us, our homes are our "castles." This has been true, especially in the past couple of years with COVID challenges. Months of social distancing has had us polishing up our residences with home improvement projects. Whether we own or rent, we found ourselves falling in love again with our "Home Sweet Homes."
OUR "THUMBPRINT" ~ In July 2020, Doug and I sold our vintage Craftsman by Manito Park and moved to a pretty gated community on Moran Prarie. We are enjoying the fruits of our "updating labors" over the past two-plus years.
Outside, the landscaping is finished and the nuisance Honey Locust tree in the front replaced with an Ornamental Pear. The miles of interior oak woodwork has been painted along with over a dozen matching six-panel doors installed. The "sea of oak" is now a crisp polished white. Our cottage looks fresh and new!
Last on the list is a new dining set for the deck and a double-oven range for our kitchen. We're nearly finished ~ and our home is everything we hoped it would be ~ warm, friendly and inviting. Doug and I love to entertain, and we are happy that life is slowly but surely returning to normal as COVID wanes more each month.
SEASONAL DECORATING ~ A fun extra step is changing our home's personality with accessories as seasons change. Sally Mom did this in all the Simpson family houses. She, my sisters and I have shared a text string for years with "show and tell" photos flying back and forth between us as holidays pop up and seasons change. We all love this tradition!
A SPECIAL GIFT ~ If your home (or the home of someone you love) is a special "dream house," why not consider commissioning a portrait of it? Learn much more further down on this page.
I've created four "neighborhood" paintings since the mid-1970s. The most common size I use for my most works is 8x10 inches, but all of the details I wanted to include in these pieces required larger sizes (11x14-inch and 16x20-inch).
"SPRINGTIME COMES TO SIMPSON STREET" (2007 to 2016) ~ Pictured below are the original created in 2007 and a revision of it in 2012. Above find the most recent version finished in 2016. There are many changes I want to make on this piece as SO much has happened in the last six years. Oldest granddaughter Addison became a tall lovely teenager ~ with Austin recently becoming one as well. Kevin's wife Taryn delivered Piper Elizabeth in March 2018 and Harrison Allen in September 2020. Add to that, the challenge of weaving our Moran Prairie place into this painting well. Suble changes have take place to the art since 2007, but 2022's revision will be a BIG one!
Highlight ~ See my December 2019 portrait of Doug, me and all five grandkids (except Harrison Allen who came after I painted this piece) below in the "Personal Portraits of Loved Ones and Pets" section. "Let it Snow! Let it Snow!" is our most recent family portrait celebrating all the grandkids.
"FINE FALL FINISH" (2010) ~ I painted the artwork (below left) as a gift for our contractors, Lance Elliott and Chris Garrett (Elliott Construction). They received prints after the extensive renovation of our 1937 bungalow that grew from six-week project into a six-month one. I pictured Doug and me celebrating the "FINISH" with Lance, Chris, their sweethearts and pets at an Autumn picnic, positioning their homes beneath ours as part of the "neighborhood." A huge undertaking with challenges at every turn, our contractors finished the project beautifully. They were surprised and delighted with the gift of the "Fine Fall Finish" artwork.
"THE PEGGY PLACES" (1976) ~ I created this as a wedding gift for sis Peggy and husband Jeff Barton ~ honoring all of the homes Peggy lived in before their marriage ~ including the tiny ambler near San Francisco Jeff bought for his bride-to-be. Peggy still has this fine art ~ and the two are a happily retired very active couple these days.
Highlight ~ These two images show in a very real way how my "Americana" style has evolved between 1976 to present ~ refined with perspective and many more details.
"CANNON HILL COTTAGES" (2016) ~ This art pictures two pretty Colonials ~ the first, a classic white one with green shutters and the second, a yellow two-story barn-roofed Dutch Colonial. Both overlook Cannon Hill Park and pond on the Spokane's South Hill. Doug and I love this area and many of our friends live there. Pleasant evenings frequently find us walking the neighborhood.
The families who lived in these two Colonials their homes for decades have fond memories of good times shared herel.
In Summer, the park was filled with picnickers (theme here). Moms pushed strollers and kids played on swings and climbed on the stone bridges that spanned the pond when it was over twice its current size.
Folks of all ages still ice skate on the pond. Visitors will find boys playing some pretty brisk hockey in Winter. Every now and then, someone starts a bonfire so revelers can toast their backsides between outings on the ice. Is that barndy in the thermoses?
PARK HISTORY ~ In early 1900, the park was a brick yard. When clay deposits were exhausted, the Adams family (relatives of both Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams) donated the land for Adams Park, later renamed for city developer A.M. Cannon.
MEMORIES ~ Before I finished this piece, in 2016, Lynn Nevers DeWenter asked me to create prints of the yellow house (image below) for Christmas ~ a gift of memories for each of her siblings.
Highlight ~ Five Holy Names classmates lived in these two homes ~ Carly and Lynn Nevers, Bridget and Lana Lavin as kids, and Kay Richardson Edmonds as a young wife. In 2016, Kay bought the original for husband Todd and had me add their grandkidds to the sidewalk in front of their home. They've been there 35+ years!
COMMISSIONED FINE ARTWORK IN YOUR CHOICE OF THREE MEDIAS
Note ~ Paintings are best suited for portrait work as it's easier to make alterations. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so it's easy to change.
FEES VARY ~ The cost for a commission is based on both the amount of time it takes me to complete the portrait and on your choice of media. In other words, I record my hours and charge accordingly. Some media inherently takes longer than others. For exampble, paintings require more time to complete than pen & ink sketches. NOTE ~ Consultations and framing of the finished art are ALWAYS complimentary.
Below, I've shared 22 home portraits (our Moran Prairie cottage is in the first group (and yes, already needs updating as the big tree has been replaced by a much smaller one). There are a doznepaintings, six pen, ink & pastels, and four pen & ink line drawings) ~ all presented by theme below. Most of these are past commissioned pieces in many architectural styles. Beneath the main gallery, I've shared tips for planning commissions plus a "Challenges & Creative Solutions" section.
Highlight ~ A dozen wedding-themed paintings of couples and settings are also included on my Bridal page.
ACRYLIC-ON-CANVAS PAINTING THEMES
Highlight ~ Look for 6 NEW paintings below!
ACRYLIC-ON-CANVAS PAINTINGS (12 WORKS IN 6 ARCHITECTURAL STYLES ~ INCLUDING 2 INTERIORS)
HOMES SWEET HOMES ~ AND GARDENS ~ (OUR MORAN PRAIRIE, SPOKANE, WA COTTAGE AND A MESA, AZ ENTRYWAY PLANTED WITH DESERT FLOWERS)
VIVACIOUS VICTORIANS ~ (BROWNE'S ADDITION BEAUTIES IN SPOKANE, WA 'S FIRST AND OLDEST NEIGHBORHOOD!)
BEACH BEAUTIES ~ (SUMMER WEEKEND GETAWAYS ON COEUR D'ALENE, ID AND PEND OREILLE RIVER, WA)
GATHERING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS ~ (PERFECT PLACES FOR COMING TOGETHER WITH THOSE WE LOVE ON SPOKANE'S SOUTH HILL AND NORTH SIDE, WA
INVITING INTERIORS ~ (SPOKANE, WA'S CAMPBELL HOUSE DINING ROOM DECORATED FOR VALENTINE'S DAY AND CAREFREE, AZ'S AUTHENITIC ENGLISH TEA ROOM
WINTER WONDERLAND SCENES ~ (SNOWY SCENE IN MANITO / ROCKWOOD AND ANOTHER ON BEAUTIFUL MANITO BOULEVARD IN SPOKANE, WA)
PEN INK AND PASTELS DRAWING THEMES
PEN AND INK DRAWINGS WITH COLORS ADDED FROM PASTELS ~ (Six Works in Three Architectural Styles)
VIVACIOUS VICTORIANS ~ (SEATTLE CAPITOL HILL MANSION CONVERTED INTO OFFICE SPACE SKETCHED WITH SPRING AND SUMMER THEMES)
VACATION "VILLAS" ~ (LOON LAKE FAMILY BEACH GETAWAY AND A MISSION SQUARE AT ALTA MESA, AZ PATIO HOME)
HOMES AND COTTAGE GARDENS ~ (PRETTY PLACES SURROUNDED BY COTTAGE GARDENS ON SPOKANE'S SOUTH HILL AND KIRKLAND'S, SHORELINE, WA.)
PEN AND INK DRAWING THEMES
PEN AND INK SKETCHES (Four Works in Two Architectural Styles)
HOMES WITH COTTAGE GARDENS ~ (INLAND NORTHWEST HOMES SURROUNDED BY COTTAGE GARDENS ON THE NORTH SIDE, SPOKANE, WA AND HAYDEN LAKE, ID}
GORGEOUS GETAWAYS ~ (JUST-A-TUG WATERCRAFT ON PUGET SOUND IN THE SAN JUANS, WA ANDA PRETTY PATIO IN PALM SPRINGS, CA.)
ONE STEP FURTHER
HOLIDAY CARDS WITH YOUR HOME PORTRAIT ~ For several clients, I've painted directly on a print of the original artwork ~ adding holiday details like wreaths, snow, family and of course, a Christmas tree glittering in the window. Voilé! Artwork for Holiday cards!
WEDDING INVITATIONS ~ For one engaged couple, after painting a portrait of their home, I re-worked a print into a New Year's Eve scene with them as the bride and groom. Their invitation was a nice memento of the at-home ceremony for all their guests. See their portrait further down on this page under "Chalenges & Creative Solutions ~ 'The Beautiful Day'" or visit the Bridal page.
STEP 1 ~ INITIAL CONSULTATION MEETING
All of my work is custom, so the first step is a consultation. With COVID-19 still a challenge, this could be a Facetime meeting. Often times, I need to physically visit the site as I may need to take some photographs. Depending on the meeting, I'll share samples in-person or on-line, discuss your wishes, and see what images you already have on hand you can share. I may be able to work from your personal photos if you live in another part of the country. I'll need long shots as well as details of windows, lighting fixtures, garden gates, bird baths, and more Once again, with my "Americana" style, it's ALL in the details. We want your personality to shine through!
ALL of my work is copyrighted. After I create it, I reserve the right to use it to help promote my business, i.e. on my web site, in calendars, cards, etc. Copyrighted means you may NOT reproduce it in ANY manner without my written permission.
STEP 2 ~ PLANNING THE PROJECT
I create a "thumbnail" sketch and we make notes on the following ~
STEP 3 ~ DETERMINING THE FEE & DELIVERY OF YOUR "MASTERPIECE"
Fees are always estimated, but I do my best to bring your project in on time and on budget. Normally, I receive a 50% deposit before I start. NOTE ~ the more specific you are about what you want at the beginning of the project, the less need for costly revisions later.
When we meet to hand off your "masterpiece," I receive the balance sales tax (9% tax in Spokane, WA). In addition to your handsomely framed piece, I always include a print or a packet of art cards as my gift. CONGRATULATIONS!
NOTE ~ Once again, a gentle reminder that ALL of my work is copyrighted. You may NOT reproduce it in ANY manner without my written permission.
I have dozens of samples of home portraits in every architectural style imaginable. Problem solving can be challenging, but is ALWAYS rewarding. Nearly every commissioned piece presents one difficulty or another, so I've shared a few challenges with their solutions here. Each has the artwork coupled with its photograph.
"CANNON HILL COZY" ~ (SWEET BRICK COTTAGE OVERLOOKING CANNON HILL POND, SPOKANE, WA)
CHALLENGE ~ EXPEDITING THE PROJECT ~ This pretty blond brick bungalow with green and cream trim overlooks Cannon Hill Pond on Spokane's South Hill. It served as the Pat and Janie Shelledy family home for decades ~ and this family absolutely LOVED the home.
When I began this piece, Janie Shelledy had already passed away and her husband Pat was in declining health, spending his last days in a hospital room. His adult children Dave and Patty were there with Pat much of the time, sharing stories and memories about ~ family reunions, Christmases past, misadventures growing up, and more. These conversations inspired Dave's request for this portrait of their family home.
The obvious challenge was to finish the artwork as quickly as possible so it could be hung in Pat's room where he could see and enjoy it every remaining day.
SOLUTION ~ PREPARATION, PLANNING & RESEARCH ~ With some direction from me, Dave and Patty went to work digging through old albums and boxes of photos. Blessedly, the two not only found great snapshots. They put their heads together and collaborated on an overview of the history of three generations of their family.
Dave and Patty gave me everything I needed, so guess work was taken out of the equation. At times, the artwork felt like it painted itself. As you can see by the image here, I was able to include all three generations of Shelledys ~ the grandparents on the steps, parents in the driveway and kiddos playing in a huge pile of leaves on the driveway.
Pat was moved to tears at this "story of his life" on canvas. In 2013, the original artwork went to Dave Shelledy on his milestone 60th birthday ~ the perfect gift as this home spawned so many cherished memories.
"BOWERS OF FLOWERS AT THE BUIOCCHI'S" ~ (LARGE FAMILY HOME ON A VERY STEEP HILLSIDE, KIRKLAND, WA)
CHALLENGE ~ CREATING "TRUE" COLOR ~ There were actually inter-related challenges here. This sprawling two-story house was perched on a very steep wooded hillside overlooking a lush greenbelt above Lake Washington's Yarrow Bay in Kirkland, Washington.
Other than hiring a helicopter pilot to fly me over the property so I could shoot the photographs necessary for this project (these days, perhaps the use of a drone), I was in a complete quandary as to how to finish the painting while maintaining its architectural integrity. And, not only was the home nearly impossible to photograph, the heavy shadows created by the tall trees in full leaf made the color of the home's exterior change substantially at different times of the day. There were many shades of green. Which one to choose?
SOLUTION ~ PHOTOSHOP AND SEVERAL ON-SITE CONFERENCES ~ Adobe's PhotoShop allows designers to do practically anything. I've used this software for decades and it's one of my favorites because of its flexibility and myriad of options. I took lots of digitals of the house, created a contact sheet and then pieced together enough of a reasonable composite image that allowed me to see the "bones" of this home. This rough composite collage gave me the diving board that allowed me to begin painting the portrait for my client.
GETTING THE COLOR RIGHT ~ I nearly always work from a collection of several photographs (often as many as thrity) as each piece takes many, many hours to complete ~ forty to sixty or more. Getting the color just right was a tough challenge. After several false starts, the owners and I sat on their stone wall and mixed green paint on my palette until we were able to agree upon a shade that they thought did justice to the house. Thus the final home portrait that you see here.
"THE BEAUTIFUL DAY" ~ (HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY HOME NEAR LAKE WASHINGTON, KIRKLAND, WA)
CHALLENGE ~ PAINTING A HANDSOME (RATHER THAN "CUTE") PORTRAIT OF A CONTEMPORARY HOME ~ This beautiful, contemporary stucco residence was wrapped around a Kirkland hillside overlooking Lake Washington. The owners appreciated my style, but were worried the finished product might look too "cute" for their home's contemporary, sleek interior. They wanted the artwork to be appropriate to their setting.
SOLUTION ~ MORE PERSPECTIVE AND A CHANGE IN FOCUS ~ I actually did two things that helped me create a successful portrait of this attractive contemporary residence.
FIRST ~ I introduced more perspective into the piece than I had been using in most of my paintings at the time, taking photographs of the property from many angles.
Although I focused on the important architectural details, I did my best to make this piece have a more realistic, authentic architectural renduring feel. Plus, I kept my recreation of the property simpler than many of my previous home portraits.
SECOND ~ The wooded forest and thick foliage around the house was varied and lush, so I spent a lot of time and care recreating the natural surrounding. The greenbelt was teeming with all kinds wildlife and birds ~ families of eagles, hawks and seagulls, so some of those winged creatures made their way into this painting.
When I delivered this piece to the owners, they were so delighted with the final piece that they requested a wedding-theme alteration of a print to create invitations for their New Year's Eve home wedding. Click on my Bridal to see this artwork.
PEOPLE AND PETS WE LOVE
As mentioned above, for decades, I've built a following with my artwork of remarkable homes, landmarks, parks and other subjects. What can I say? Fine architecture has always been my first love.
EARLY EFFORTS AT PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE ~ In 1986s, I tried a self portrait. It was a disappointment as it lacked heart and warmth, and just didn't "feel" like me. A decade later, I tried again, this time painting three kitties who had recently died. Dearly missed by my sisters and me, I tucked us into the background of the art. Although a bit styalized, it felt friendly and appealing.
SLOWLY BUT SURELY GETTING IT RIGHT ~ In February 2004, I finished a fourth anniversary gift for Doug of our wedding party bordered with blossoms chosen for our ceremony. This memory-filled work hangs in our bedroom. See it on my Bridal page.
As they arrived, I created portraits of our grandkiddos when each was about two, I also painted beloved pets as they were added our family (further down in "Our Beloved Pet Companions" section). In Winter 2019, I did two Ward family pieces. The first pictured our five grandkids ~ framed Christmas gift prints Matt, Kevin and Leah. The second was the same image with Doug and me added ~ our Holiday card art that year. We love both of these!
OUR DARLING GRANDKIDDOS
T'S ALL IN THE DETAILS ~ Who said that? Brilliant Martha Stewart? To create a truly compelling portrait, I've learned it's not just creating a pretty picture. The key discovering what makes their personality shine through. Often it helps to spend time to discover favorite colors, what they like to wear, etc., toys that held their interest, and most importantly, what makes them smile.
'"PIPER LOVES PETER RABBIT (2020)
Our sweet young lady Piper is impossible to resist! When she was born to Kevin and Taryn in Spring 2018, I began sharing items from my collection of Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit memorabilia with her ~ thus the theme of this portrait bordered with carrots and daisies.
Much of my Beatrix Potter collection came from a two-week trip I made with Sally Mom to Great Britain. We spent nearly an entire day at the Lakes District near Windermere where Beatrix and husband William Heelis lived at Hill Top Farm.
We lunched at the Beatrix Potter Tea Shop, filled with items impossible to resist as I had such respect for this artist who began her career in middle age years.I bought books, stuffed animals, a tea set and more. Some of these found their way into Pipier's bedroom and more will follow.
This painting was inspired by Easter photos Taryn sent us in Spring 2020. In September, when Harrison Allen was born about the same time Kevin celebrated his big 40th birthday, we sent Piper's original art, the portrait of Austin, and a blanket I knitted for new addition Harrison Allen to Kevin and Taryn to celebrate both events!
"AUSTIN AT PLAY" (2010)
As they say, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Like daddy Kevin, from a very early age grandson Austin loved everything electronic. He's not at all like "G-Dub" as our grandkids call Doug, who sometimes looks at his iPad as a "necessary evil." The art above captured Austin's fascination with his birthday cell phone. It was pretend of course, but equipped with lots of realistic "bells & whistles" that kept him coming back to it again and again at his party. Who knew this phone would be his favorite gift?
Of all the photos I took of Austin, the one I used for this artworkt showed how much he focused when playing with his toys. He's not smiling, but very content ~ only looking up for a couple seconds before going back to what was holding his interest that day.
"BABY BUNNY ADDISON" (2009)
Our oldest granddaughter has always been a feminine young lady. This aspect of her personality has persisted and developed ~ even though she's a teenager now, as shown in the "Let It Snow" portraits. She's played soccer for years, but also takes dance lessons from her Auntie Leah. With the lovely elaborate costumes she wears at competitions, my guess is that she loves dancing more.
When I painted Addison as a toddler that Easter 2008, she was wearing a sweet yellow frock, a gift from another of her doting grandmothers. Her outfit was topped off with furry white bunny ears and rainbow-striped "Mary Janes."
Doug and I gave her a basket of chocolate bunnies, Beatrix Potter books and a family of rubber ducks. One of these ducks caught her attention and she carried it around the rest of the day. She even had it on her lap at dinner ~ not usual protocol, but it was Easter!
These simple details plus a few Spring blossoms inspired this artwork of her ~ preserving memories of that special Easter.
OUR BELOVED PET COMPANIONS
FAMILY AND FRIEND'S' PET PORTRAITS ~ Recently I've finished several portraits of beloved pets for my brothers and sisters shared below ~ plus a NEWpainting for dear friend Linda Eber.
GOD BLESS OUR BELOVED PETS . . . MAY THEY LIVE FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ARTWORK OR CONTENT?
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On the Web ~ PattiSimpsonWard.com