|Composition drawing for "Scandinavian House"|
I was busy during the Thanksgiving holiday, not visiting with family, but working. It was my sweet husband who cooked on Thanksgiving! Why? I had to finish two commission paintings that need to be shipped by early December. One of them--"Waterlily Dreams"--I already shared with my readers. "Scandinavian House" was the second painting I worked on during the holiday.
This portrait of a house was commissioned by my dear sister-in-law for her husband. She is probably the only client who didn't negotiate the price; she told me she didn't want a discount. Bless her heart! She and husband had raised their four sons in this house. After their children left, they decided to stay instead of moving somewhere else. They recently made some additions, and that is why my sister-in-law decided it would be a fun "addition" to their new additions.
I worked with a couple of pictures she took in the afternoon. She worried about the "artistic" quality of the pictures, but I told her that I liked them just fine. The late afternoon sun casts long tree shadows on the driveway, lawn, and house itself. You can tell that the property is surrounded by the tall, slender pine trees. They are very important in the composition as much as the house itself. I felt that the two tall trees in front of the house were like the father and mother of the family. I made sure that they didn't bisect the painting perfectly.
I first did a value drawing on a piece of paper in the same size as the painting itself to work out the composition. This is something I rarely do as I usually compose in my head and jump right into the painting process. But, for this important project, I didn't want to waste time and spoil the fresh brushwork by messing around with the elaborate architectural drawing on the canvas itself.
After my client approved the composition, the rest was a breeze, as I had already decided on the palette: blues for the sky, warm yellow oranges for the house, greeens for the pine trees, and blue violets for the shadows in the driveway. She wanted the driveway a little less prominent while I was working on the painting, so I obliged by making the lawn a little bigger. I felt such affection for the family that I think it shows in the final painting. Doesn't "Scandinavian House" look like a happy house?