Sunday, December 29, 2013

EDM 165 - Front of My House

Ye Olde Brick House; 3x3" watercolor
Our House, circa 1950 (way before my time!)
Our 80-year-old brick house has tons of character, which is more than I can say for my painting of it. I've never been interested in drawing or painting buildings, which means I'll never be a proper urban sketcher. Oh, and I'm kind of indoorsy, so there's that. My disinterest in mastering multi-dimensional perspective is pretty obvious here. My paintings of buildings always come across as fairly flat and sort of folk-art-like, as if they are merely renderings of architectural concepts. Or, perhaps they are just the street side of a gingerbread house. Did someone say "gingerbread"? Yes, please!

I made my painting of the house from memory, since it was too cold to be outside. Painting from memory allows you to idealize a bit. In reality, we have two gnarly, old weeping cherry trees (seen as young saplings in the old photo above) that obscure the front view of our house. They bloom beautifully for a couple weeks in May, and then they are just old and gnarly the rest of the year. Our porch steps are not nearly as grand looking as in my painting. In fact, they are non-descript, drab-gray concrete. But, I do LOVE our porch, especially now!

In anticipation of our daughter's wedding in June, we spruced up the front of the house quite a bit in the spring. My wonderful son-in-law-to-be helped me paint the porch. It was a huge project, made bigger by several days of blustery, rainy weather. We were forced to wrap the front of the house in plastic, just to give the paint a chance to dry between coats. There were times, when the wind kicked up, that I feared the house would sail away. One day the temperature was in the 80s, and we were boiling hot. The next day, it was damp and 45 degrees. It seems funny now, but at the time it was just frustrating.

I stripped half a dozen layers of decades-old paint off the front door and door frame before repainting it. We considered buying a new door, but I could not bear to part with the original beveled glass window. I'm so glad I persevered, because it looks as good as new now.

My painting above includes the new boxwood bushes we planted this year. I've wanted them for years. I hope they survive the winter. I also included the flower baskets we had hanging from the porch all spring and summer. They became enormous and bloomed so beautifully. One of the baskets seemed homey enough to one mother bird that she built a nest in it and hatched her eggs there. It was such a treat to see them every morning as they went from eggs to chicks. One day, they just disappeared. Sniff. Sniff.

It's all just a memory all the rest of 2013 is soon to be. I love this old house, and as the painting says, it is definitely NOT for sale by owner! I'll be in the picture below as soon as the weather is warm enough again. Can't wait!


  1. Lovely painting and story. I'm glad you kept your beveled glass door, too. I like paintings like this -- reality tinged with memory or maybe memory tinged with reality. Great work as always. Hope 2014 is a colorful year for you.

  2. thanks for the link! I'll follow you with Feedly!