So doing commissioned artwork can be a weird thing:  I get an email or a phone call from a stranger.  They send me pictures of their home or their dog, or their alpaca. And I’m asked to create a painting based on a flat, 2 dimensional image.

House Photo

Watercolor Home Portrait from Photo

It usually works out fine, especially if the client sends me several shots of the same subject and I can really get a feel for a place.  If I can’t get a good read on a subject, I’ll ask for more pictures or politely decline the work.

The cool part about creating a painting for a friend is that I’m usually pretty familiar with the subject.  I’ve been to the house, explored the yard and petted their dog.  I have a more personal feel for the place or the animal.  And if I haven’t seen it in person , I know the owner and often have heard stories about the house or of their beloved pet.   

house photo for watercolor painting
Photo of house

Photo of a friend’s home

Watercolor House Portrait From Photo
Watercolor House Portrait From Photo

Watercolor home portrait from photo

This is a coworker friend’s home and the resulting painting I made for her.  I don’t know her that well, but I feel much closer to her after having rendered a watercolor of something beloved to her.  I’ve found it’s true with many friends for whom I’ve done home or pet portraits:  I pay close attention to all the details of their home or of their pet and come to a more profound understanding of what’s important and dear to them.  

Marybeth working on watercolor home portrait
Marybeth working on watercolor home portrait

Me on my front porch “studio”

When working with a new client I will often ask for more pictures that I’ll actually use for creating the painting.  I use them to get a feel for the place or a sense of the personality of the subject in the painting.  While painting for a new client I think a lot about the people who live in the house, or who own the dog –or the alpaca or the horse– and I wonder about them:  What are they like? Did they play soccer or bacci ball in this yard with their kids like we did with ours?  Did the dog know any tricks or have any weird habits like my little basset hound, Roxy does?    

So if you place an order with me, please be assured that I put a lot of thought and care into your painting.  And  I think it shows in my work!  🙂

Dog Portrait
Watercolor Pet Portrait from Photo

It’s a lovely keepsake and also a gift to me to have learned more about the subject.

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