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 five-plus 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 image 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 f 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 challenged caused by COVID many of us have been polishing up our residences. Whether we own or rent, we have 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 yard replaced with an Ornamental Pear. The miles of interior oak woodwork has been painted along with over a dozen six-panel doors installed. The "sea of oak" is now a crisp polished white which has our cottage looking fresh and new ~ a nice contrast to the new "caramel" walls.

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 -19 wanes. I am a DIY-er, so I have lots of decorating books ~ so 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, Marilee, Peggy and I have been sharing a text string for years. When the seasons change, "show and tell" photos fly betweem all of us. All of us love this tradition and honor it the best way we can with every new holiday

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 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" (2007 to 2016) ~ 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 project 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) ~ I painted the artwork (below left) 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 six-week project and grew into a six-month one. 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 PLACES" (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 "Americana" style has evolved between 1976 to present ~ becoming more refined with added perspective and details.

 

"CANNON HILL COTTAGES" (2016) ~ This painting pictures two beautiful Colonials ~ the first, a classic white with green shutters and the second, 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 area 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 good times shared in this special neighborhood.

In warm weather, Cannon Hill Park is often dotted with picnickers ~ the theme for this fine art. When the weather is warm, 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.

Folks of all ages still ice skate on the pond. You can count on 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 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 one of five women who grew up here who were Holy Names classmates of mine from 1964-1968. Kay Richardson Edmonds ultimately purchased the original "Cannon Hill Cottages" in 2016 as a Christmas gift for her husband Todd. I added all their grandkids into the art on the sidewalk in front of the yellow house. They lived there for over thrity years after the Nevers left the areal. Also, I framed art for Brigid Lavin Kardong of the white Colonial 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. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so it's easy to change.

 

COMMISSION FEES

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 a gallery of 22 home portraits (find our NEW cottage on Moran Prairie in the first grouping ~ and yes, as mentioned above, this art already needs updating 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 below by theme. Most of these are past commission pieces and you'll find many architectural styles and subjects. Beneath the main gallery, I've shared tips for planning your own commission followed by the "Challenges & Creative Solutions" section with three sample home portraits and photographs.

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 nine NEW paintings below!

ACRYLIC-ON-CANVAS PAINTINGS (A Dozen Works in Six Architectural Styles including Two Interior Settings)

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 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"

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"

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 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 painting its portrait.

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"

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 (Over a Dozen Works)

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 different ~ a self portrait (below). It was a disappointment as it lacked heart and warmth and 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 felt like I missed the mark with this one.

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 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 grandkids when each reached about two years of age ~ and pets when lovingly added to families (see the "Our 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 a Christmas The second was the same image with Doug and me added ~ our Holiday card art that year. It's tough to say which of these we love the most!

 

OUR DARLING GRANDKIDDOS

T'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 time with the subject ~ easy to do with these sweet kids pictured above. I did my best 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 ~ one of the highest point of our visit! We lunched at the Beatrix Potter Tea Shop which was filled with memorablia and gift items impossible to resist as I had such respect for this artist who began her career in real earnest during middle age.

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" (2010) ~ 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" (2009) ~ 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 AND I ARE "CAT PEOPLE." ~ The brother and sister Siamese-Burmese kitties pictured below by the Campbell House were Doug and my constant companions for much of the first ten 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 sweet "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.

PET PORTRAITS FOR MY SISTERS AND BROTHER ~ In the past five years, I've completed four pet portraits (three are below) for my sisters Marilee and Peggy and brother Bob. Some pets were "memorialized" as sadly, they have passed.

• For Marilee and Ron, I painted their two kitties, Cookie (black and white) and Lady (a tabby) in a tulip-filled Spring scene. Both cats died within a short time of one other. I also portrayed their little dog Miko in a snowy Chistmas scene (not shown).

For my sis Peggy and husband jeff, I portrayed their two pooches in another snowy scene. Tabasco, the shiatsu died in December 2021, leaving Jada, their German shepherd to hold down the family fort.

For Bob and his wife Jan, I created an Autumn woodland scene with their three rescue dogs. Bryce (far left) and Pumpkin (far right) had been part of their family for over a decade ~ while Spike, the "Wonder Dog" joined them early in their marriage, passing away a couple years later. This year in January, Bryce found his way to heaven. Pumpkin will dearly miss her "partner-in-crime."

GOD BLESS OUR BELOVED PETS . . . MAY THEY LIVE FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES.

 

 

 

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