Watercolour house portrait commissions behind the scenes how it works

Watercolour Commissions

One of my favourite things to do is watercolour house portraits.

What are they for?

People commission me to paint a house, church or building that is meaningful to them or the person they would like to give it to as a gift. These are a fantastic personalised gift idea, and in the last year alone people from all over the U.K. have commissioned me to paint as Christmas gifts, on the occasion of an ordination, as a house moving gift, a wedding anniversary gift, a retirement gift and birthday gifts.

They are a perfect way to add some significance to a gift and frame something really personal and special in your home.

What materials do you use?

My house portraits are first drawn on to 300gsm canson watercolour paper, then painted with Windsor and Newton watercolours. I finish the piece off with a waterproof black fine liner.

Here’s a little behind the scenes of the painting process.

Pencil drawing of one of And Hope Designs’ watercolour house portraits 
Ruler and pencil in hand, I set out drawing the building centred on the paper.

Hand lettering below a watercolour house painting in Belfast
If the commission requires some hand lettering, I do that first as it is the hardest thing to rectify - it would be a shame to have to start a whole painting over for a spelling mistake!

Some detail coming in to being with watercolour paints on this church painting
After a light wash of the main colour of the building, I set about painting in details such as bricks, roof, edges and windows.

Watercolour house portrait in progress

Saint salvator’s chapel in St. Andrews watercolour painting
Once the painting is all done, the shadows make it come to life. I find this to be one of the things that makes a painting go from good to great.

The final touch is adding in black fine lines to the contours of the building.

The end result

Here are a few examples of A5, A4 and A3 paintings I have done for commission clients over the last year. As you will see, there is a mix of houses, national trust properties, churches and other buildings of significance. Some have chosen to include an inscription to personalise this further. With hand lettered dates or a quote, these make a great anniversary gift, birthday gift of Christmas gift.

Finished watercolour painting commission of Saint Salvator’sChapel in St Andrews.

London flat watercolour painting commission for a personalised birthday gift

Snowy house painting - commissioned as a personalised birthday gift for mum

Personalised commission of a watercolour house painting with a magnolia tree in the garden

National trust property watercolour commissioned painting with personalised hand lettered date

Hillsborough house watercolour painting for father’s 60th birthday gift

Here are a few up close details of some of the paintings so you can see the detailed work in the painting and the lovely texture of the canson paper.
Up close detail of church watercolour commissioned art

Watercolour painting of a brick house in knockdene park, Belfast

Up close detailed image of a watercolour portrait of a house in Northern Ireland

Up close detail image of a watercolour painting of a house in hillsborough, Northern Ireland

Finally, here’s where the magic happens! A photograph of my desk!And Hope Designs watercolour artist’s desk in Belfast

If you have a project you think I can help you with, I’d love for you to get in touch and discuss what you have in mind. I love to help people give special secret gifts for big occasions like a significant anniversary, a big birthday or after a house move. I also love to paint a series and have had the joy of painting sets of houses to be framed alongside each other - it’s like a family history in houses.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

1 of 3