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 appreciate the most are often found in handsome older structures ~ a deep fascination with me since I first picked up a paint brush some 5+ decades ago.
PERSONAL PORTRAITS ~ In addition to portraits of homes, parks and landmarks, I'm also creating artwork 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 photo here, I'm hosting an exhibit of my work at the Spokane Preservation Advocates (SPA) Annual Tour of Historic Homes at one of the featured residences ~ Russ and Sara Weaver-Lundberg's "Storybook" cottage on Overblfuff Road. The portrait I created for them is the framed piece on top the left side of the buffet. It's also featured in the NEW 2022 "Magical Magnificent Mansions" Calendar.
Highlight ~ Learn about Sara's connection to the tiny vintage brick structure on Grand Boulevard near Saint John the Evangelist that once housed Lindaman's Bistro. Find the story in the South Hill Collection pdf under "Public Buildings ~ Beloved Churches, Schools and Small Businesses."
OUR CASTLES AND COVID ~ For many of us, "Our homes are our castles" is TRUE, especially now. With all the social distancing caused by COVID, many of us have been polishing up our residences. Whether we own or rent, many of us have fallen in love with our "Home Sweet Homes."
OUR "THUMBPRINT" ~ In July 2020, Doug and I sold our Craftsman by Manito Park and moved to a pretty gated community on Moran Prarie. This Autumn, we are enjoying the fruits of our "updating labors" for the past year+. Our landscaping is finished and the nuisance Honey Locust tree in the front yard replaced at last with an Ornamental Pear. All the interior painting of oak woodwork throughout to white with caramel brown walls has been completed with over a dozen six panel white doors installed. The "sea of oak" is gone and our cottage looks and feels fresh and new!
Last on the list will be a dining set for the deck and a sleek double-oven range for our kitchen. We're just about finished and our home is everything we hoped it would be ~ warm, friendly and inviting. Doug and I love entertaining ~ and more of that will happen as COVID wanes. I am a DIY-er, so I have lots of decorating books ~ very helpful as they've inspired much of the look and feel here.
SEASONAL DECORATING ~ A fun extra step is changing our home's personality with accessories and decorations as seasons revolve. Sally Mom did this in all the houses our family lived in. Sally Mom, Marilee, Peggy and I have been sharing a text string for years. When the seasons change, "Show and Tell" photos fly!
It's Autumn, so I just finished turning our cottage into "Roosterville" with my collection of whimsical barnyard birds. See it on my Welcome page under the "Home Sweet Autumn Home" section.
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 4 "neighborhood" paintings since the mid-1970s. The most common canvas 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" ~ Pictured here is the original work created in 2007, a revision of it in 2012 (images below) and the most recent version completed in 2016 (image above). BUT , so much has happened in five short years. Our oldest granddaughter Addison became a tall beautiful teenager. Kevin's wife Taryn delivered Piper Elizabeth in late March 2018 and Harrison Allen in September 2020, so a lot of updating need to be done. What lucky grandparents we are!
THE NEW HOUSE CHALLENGE ~ Now that we've settled into our new place on Moran Prairie (image below in the "Paintings • Houses with Cottage Gardens" section), the challenge will be how to weave it into this portrait of homes I've lived in and loved. Visit this page in the next few months to see the results!
Highlight ~ See my December 2019 portrait of Doug, me and all five grandkids 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 grand-kiddos (except newcomer Harrison Allen who needs to be added).
"FINE FALL FINISH" (2010) ~ (Image below left) I painted this as a gift for our contractors, Lance Elliott and Chris Garrett (Elliott Construction). They received framed prints after the extensive renovation of our 1937 bungalow that began as a 6-week project and grew into a 6-months. I pictured Doug and me celebrating the "FINISH" with Lance, Chris, their sweethearts and pets at a picnic (upper left). Their homes are below ours and part of the "neighborhood." A huge undertaking with challenges at every turn,our contractors finished that project beautifully. They were delighted and pleasantly surprised with the "Fine Fall Finish" artwork.
"THE PEGGY HOUSES" (1976) ~ This was a wedding gift for my sister Peggy and her husband Jeff Barton ~ honoring all of the homes that my sister lived in before their marriage, including the California rambler near San Francisco Jeff bought for his bride-to-be. Peggy still has this painting ~ and they are a happily retired couple these many years later ~ hiking, biking and golfing their way around the Inland Northwest and Southwest.
Highlight ~ These two images show how my artistic style has evolved ~ becoming more refined with added perspective and details ~ from 1976 to 2010!
"CANNON HILL COTTAGES" (2016) ~ This painting pictures two beautiful Colonials ~ the 1st, classic white green shutters and the 2nd, a yellow two-story barn-roofed Dutch Colonial.
Both residences overlook Cannon Hill Park and its pond on Spokane's South Hill. Doug and I have always loved this neighborhood and many of our friends live there. Pleasant afternoons often find us walking the perimeter of Cannon Hill Park.
The families who lived in these two Colonials for decades and their children who grew up here have fond memories of very good times at this special neighborhood.
In warm weather, Cannon Hill Park is often dotted with picnickers ~ the theme for this fine art. When the weather is nice, mothers push strollers and kids in shorts and tees ride bikes, play on the swings and climb on the basaltic rock bridges that years ago spanned the pond when it was over twice the size it is now.
Folks of all ages still ice skate on the park's pond. You can count on boys playing some pretty brisk hockey. Every now and then, someone starts a bonfire so revelers can toast their backsides between outings on the ice. Is that barndy in those thermoses?
PARK HISTORY ~ At the turn of the last century, the park was a brick yard. When the clay deposits were exhausted, the Adams family (relatives of both Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams) donated the land to the city for this park. Adams Park was later renamed for Spokane developer A.M. Cannon.
ARTWORK "DETAILS" ~ Before I added people to this piece in December 2016, Lynn Nevers DeWenter asked if I would create prints of just the yellow house (image below) ~ one for each siblings who grew up there. The siblings were treated to a gift of memories before the "final" of this painting was complete.
Highlight ~ Lynn was only one of five women who grew up here who were Holy Names classmates of mine from 1964-1968. Kay Richardson Edmonds went on to purchase the original of the yellow Dutch Colonial as a special Christmas gift for her husband Todd. I added all their grandkids into the art on the sidewalk in front of the house. They've lived there for 30+ years after the Nevers left Cannon Hill. Additionally, I hope to give Brigid Lavin Kardong a print of the white house below, as that was her childhood home.
COMMISSIONED FINE ARTWORK IN YOUR CHOICE OF THREE MEDIAS
Note ~ Paintings are best suited for portrait work as it's easier to make alterations to achieve the best likeness as acrylic paint dries quickly, so it's easy to change.
FEES VARY ~ The cost 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 a gallery of 22 home portraits (find our new cottage on Moran Prairie in the first grouping ~ and yes, it already needs to be updated as the big tree has been replace by a much smaller one!). There are a dozen paintings, a half-dozen pen, ink & pastels, and four pen & ink line drawings) ~ all presented by theme. Most of these are past commission pieces and feature many architectural styles and subjects. Beneath the main gallery, you'll find tips for planning your own commission followed by the "Challenges & Creative Solutions" section with three sample home portraits and photographs. NOTE ~ Nearly a dozen Wedding themed paintings of couples and settings are also included on my Bridal page.
ACRYLIC-ON-CANVAS PAINTING THEMES
ACRYLIC-ON-CANVAS PAINTINGS (12 Works ~ 6 Architectural Styles including 2 Interior Settings)
2 NEW PAINTINGS! ~ HOMES WITH COTTAGE GARDENS ~ (SPOKANE, WA AND MESA, AZ HOMES SURROUNDED BY LOVELY COTTAGE GARDENS)
2 NEW PAINTINGS! ~ VIVACIOUS VICTORIANS ~ (BROWNE'S ADDITION BEAUTIES IN SPOKANE, WA 'S OLDEST NEIGHBORHOOD!)
BEACH BEAUTIES ~ (SUMMER GETAWAYS ON COEUR D'ALENE AND PEND OREILLE RIVER, ID)
TASTY TREATS & PRETTY PICNIC PLACES ~ (PERFECT PLACES FOR PICNICKING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN SPOKANE AND SNOHOMISH, WA)
INVITING INTERIORS ~ (SPOKANE, WA'S CAMPBELL HOUSE SERVANTS' DINING ROOM AND A TEA ROOM IN CAREFREE, AZ
WINTER WONDERLAND SCENES ~ (ALL DRESSED FOR THE HOLIDAYS ON SPOKANE'S LOWER SOUTH HILL AND THE CANNON NEIGHBORHOOD)
PEN INK AND PASTELS DRAWING THEMES
PEN AND INK DRAWINGS EMBELLISHED WITH PASTELS ~ (6 Works ~ 3 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 (4 Works ~ 2 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 meeting. With COVID-19 still a challenge, this could be a Facetime consultation. Often times, I need to physically visit the site if possible, 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, etc. 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 (plus tax). In addition to your handsomely framed piece, I always include a print or a handful 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 ALWAYS rewarding. Nearly every commissioned piece presents one difficulty or another, so I've shared a few challenges with their solutions here. Each example has a photo of the artwork setting coupled with it.
"CANNON HILL COZY"
CHALLENGE: EXPEDITING THE PROJECT ~ This pretty blond brick bungalow with green and cream trim overlooks Cannon Hill Pond in Spokane's South Hill neighborhood. It served as the Shelledy family home for several 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 the hospital. His adult children Dave and Patty were there with Pat much of the time, sharing stories and memories with him ~ family reunions, Christmas holidays, misadventures of the kids 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 some 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 the 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 ~ a perfect gift as this home had so many cherished memories for him.
"BOWERS OF FLOWERS AT THE BUIOCCHI'S"
CHALLENGE: CREATING THE TRUE COLOR OF THE HOME ~ There were actually two inter-related challenges here. This sprawling two-story house was perched on a very steep hillside overlooking a lush greenbelt above Lake Washington's Yarrow Bay in Kirkland
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 a drone operator?), 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 siding change substantially at different times of the day. There were many shades of green ~ which one to choose?
SOLUTION: PHOTOSHOP & 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 shot 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.
I nearly always work from a collection of several photographs as each piece takes many, many hours to complete ~ 40 to 60 or more. Getting the color just right on this home was a very elusive challenge. After several false starts, the owners and I sat on their stone wall and mixed paint colors on my palette until we were able to agree upon a shade that we both thought did justice to the house. Thus the final home portrait that you see here.
"THE BEAUTIFUL DAY"
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 & 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 many l photographs of the property. Although I focused on the important architectural details, I did my best to make this piece have a more realistic, authentic feel. Plus, I kept my rendition simpler than many previous works.
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 results 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 (11 Paintings ~ 2 NEW!)
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 ~ But, in 1986s, I tried something new ~ a self portrait (below). Sadly, it was a disappointment as it lacked heart and warmth. It just didn't "feel" like me. I believed then (as I do now) that a portrait should capture the "heart" of the subject ~ and I think of myself as a warm, happy person.
A decade or so years later, I tried again, this time painting three beloved kitties (below) who had recently died. Dearly missed by us Simpson sisters, I tucked Marilee, Peggy and me into the background. This effort was better. It was a little stylized, but it felt much more 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 I had chosen for our ceremony. This memory-filled work hangs in our bedroom. See it on my Bridal page.
KIDDOS AND CRITTERS ~ I also began painting our grand-kiddos when each reached about 2 years of age ~ and pets when lovingly added to families (see the "Beloved Pet Companions" section below).
In Winter 2019, I created twp family paintings. The first pictured our five grandkids, and we framed prints of that image for Matt, Kevin and Leah at Christmas. The second was the same image with Doug and me added ~ our Holiday card art for 2019. It's difficult to say which of these we love the most!
OUR DARLING GRAND-KIDDOS
IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS ~ Who was it that said that? Brilliant Martha Stewart? She's right. It IS all in the details.To create a truly compelling portrait, I've learned it's more than painting a pretty picture. The key is learning about the subject, discovering what holds their interest and makes their personality shine through. Often it helps to spend a little time with the subject ~ easy to do with these three cuties pictured above. I try to discover favorite colors, what they like to wear, etc., toys that held their interest, and most importantly, what makes them smile.
NEW! "PIPER LOVES PETER (RABBIT)" ~ 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 carrot and daisy bordered portrait.
Much of my Beatrix Potter collection came from a two-week trip I took 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 ~ a high point of our visit! We lunched at the Beatrix Potter Tea Shop which was filled with memorablia and gift items.
I bought books, puzzles, cards, stuffed animals, a tea set and lots of other goodies ~ and shipped them home. Some of these found their way into Pipier's bedroom and more will follow.
This painting was inspired by Easter photos of darling Piper hunting for eggs that 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" ~ As they say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Like his daddy Kevin, from a very early age our grandson Austin loved absolutely anything and everything electronic. He's not at all like "G-Dub" as our grandkids call Doug, who often looks at his iPad as a "necessary evil."
The portrait above captured Austin's complete 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 time and time again during his birthday party. Austin received a huge pile of gifts that day. Who knew this phone would be his favorite?
Of all the photos I took of Austin, the one that I used to create this portrait showed how much this little guy intensely focused when playing with his toys. He's not smiling, but content nonetheless ~ only looking up for a couple seconds before going back to what was holding his interest that day.
"BABY BUNNY ADDISON" ~ Our eldest 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
My husband Dougie and I are "cat" people. The brother and sister Siamese-Burmese kitties pictured below in front of the Campbell House were Doug and my constant companions for much of the 1st 10 years of our marriage. We lost Andy in 2011 at Christmastime and Sophie in Autumn, 2014. These two still find their way into some of my paintings and anchor the bottom of each page of this web site. We still miss our "Kittiewinks" terribly.
Highlight ~ This painting below left is cover art for a book I am creating, "Andy & Sophie Visit the Campbell House." Designed to appeal to folks of all ages, it will feature ovr a dozen of my paintings with the kitties tucked in here and there, plus historical details and stories about The MAC'S legendary Amasa Campbell Mansion.
In 2017, I completed three pet portraits (images below) ~ plus a NEW 2020 Fall-themed one as a Christmas gift for my youngest brother Bob and his wife Jan. Rescue dogs Bryce and Pumpkin have been part of the family for over a decade. In the 1990s, Jan brought the little black dog Spike with her when the couple married ~ sadly, he passed away a short time later.
The kitties pictured to the right were my sister Marilee's pride and joy. Sadly, she lost the white cat Cookie in April, 2017 and the tabby Lady in December, 2018. I finished the two dog snowy scenes ~ one for Marilee and Ron and another for Peggy and Jeff for Christmas 2017.
GOD BLESS OUR BELOVED PETS.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ARTWORK OR CONTENT?
Phone ~ 206.406.1409 (Texts & Voicemail)
PittyPat Studio ~ "AMERICANA" FINE ART ~ Please call / text me with your questions. Thank You!
On the Web ~ PattiSimpsonWard.com