May 25, 2018

House Painting Commission

I was asked to donate to a school auction and I chose to offer up a painting of the winning bidder's house.  The winner was the owner of a house on Capitol Hill in DC, a rowhouse that wasn't the biggest or most dramatic house on the block, but was very much loved as the home in which the family's young children were born.

I met with the owner to ask what time of year they liked to see their house-- spring flowers, fall color, snow?  --  and was told that they loved to see their redbud tree in bloom in the spring.  It was a perfect time to pick since it both allowed the tree to show its beauty but didn't obstruct the view of the house with its full leafy summer foliage.

We also talked about the fence, the DC flag, the toys in the yard and other ways that the house felt like home to the family.   I asked if the neighbor row houses should be included and got a firm yes -- being part of a row of neighboring houses was something they loved living there.

I took photos when I visited last year, got more photos from the owner this spring, and then when I started working on the painting I went back to the house to check whether the paint color I saw in the photos was really the color of the house and the neighboring houses.

This was a fun commission-- and a challenge since when I paint on my own, I'm looking for the color or light or object that interests me and in this case I needed to think about how to capture the owner's feelings for the house and the life they lived there.