2022 has been a year a busy year of painting. If my calculations are correct, I have painted 21 houses, a pub and a church in the last 12 months.
If I could only count how many red bricks I have painted, how many trees, bushes and plants of flower that is and all the memories I have had the honour of encapsulating in a watercolour house portrait.
The year began with two A3 paintings, both of homes that have seen families grow up in them. One was a “just because” to hang in the house, and the other was to bring to a new home after 20 or so years in a house.
After those, I painted an A5 house portrait - a house based in Oxford, England which was given as a housewarming gift - so thoughtful. I have to say that after two A3 paintings, this one felt like it took no time at all to paint and hand letter. I hope you can see the scale a little with the brushes and paint around the paper.
Because I am a stay at home mum with one child not yet in school, I work in the evenings mostly. This one still took a couple of evenings of work, I often listen to podcasts or an audiobook while I paint.
The little details around the windows and door, the purple plant and the tiles leading up to the front door made this one an absolute delight to paint. I love how deep and saturated the colours of the watercolour paints cans be when used with less water.
How I paint commissions
This is a picture of what my working arrangement looks like - usually I’m at the dining table as our dining room is full of light. I always love to have a cuppa, a candle, and then I have an array of materials including Winsor and Newton watercolour paints, pencils and fine liner pens (I use 0.05mm to draw my houses once I have got the pencil lines down) and an assortment of paint brushes in various sizes - most are round brushes.
A year of watercolour house (and other buildings) paintings
From this point on in the year, things become a little more of a blur as work picked up and I was painting around one commission per week. So here is a lovely assortment of what I painted the rest of the year.
I loved this commission - a couple wanted an illustration of the back and the front of their rental property in Portugal to put on the wall side by side. I loved painting palms and a swimming pool - as much as I adore bricks, perfectly British cottages and old stone houses, this was super fun to paint.
My church, Knock Presbyterian church in Belfast celebrated its 150th anniversary this year, and the committee in charge of coming up with a selection of events to commemorate this momentous year asked me to paint the church for the front cover of the leaflet distributed around the neighbourhood to invite folks to the anniversary service. No pressure.
I painted this house right after the church and it’s simple lines and beautiful magnolia tree were an absolute delight after trying to figure out all the ins and outs of where all the church columns are! This was commissioned for someone’s mum’s big birthday - a common and great reason to commission a house painting.
Houses have so many memories attached to them, having a tangible picture to go along with those memories especially when the house has been sold is a lovely thoughtful gift.
This was a different sort of commission, requested specifically for a customer’s dad - including him and his wife and their dog alongside their very special caravan, complete with bunting and fairly lights!
This massive A3 watercolour painting is of a Norwegian winter cabin painted covered in snow as a special birthday gift for a customer’s mum’s birthday. I loved painting snow, it was such a different process to my normal bricks.
I love that each commission is so personal and custom specific to the person ordering it or for the person being gifted to. This one was requested to be painted from the back to include the back garden which is the pride and joy of the owner - and rightly so - they have done such an incredible job making it a lovely haven full of flowers and I loved painting each wee flower to bring so much colour to the painting.
The process of painting a watercolour commission.
This is a photo of a house before the painting process - just black line drawing with a fine liner on watercolour paper.
This is the house fully painted - does it it look so different? I love both stages, I think they both look gorgeous, but I am partial to the colour that the paint brings. And that was a lot of bricks 😅.
I painted this one right after the house above, and even though they are so different, I keep getting them confused in my mind! I loved all the little details in this one including the shutters, the flower boxes in the windows and the tiles to the front door. Keeping the road sign in was a great way of including the location of the house in the painting as well!
This pub in London was commissioned as an A3 piece for a wedding gift! Something different, but clearly meaningful to the couple and the friend who ordered it for them. I loved painting this and enjoyed the challenge of writing in white on to black so leaving white space where the letters are for the pub name, Speakeasy.
This one was a Christmas gift for an auntie - her house is really long but is a bungalow, so not very tall - making sure it fit nicely on the page but didn’t leave too much blank space was the challenge for this painting. Adding some sky and keeping the tree not only added some colour but made the whole painting more balanced on the page.
Watercolour house painting commissions as Christmas gifts
This was one of my commissions for Christmas. Christmas is always a busy time for me as a lot of people love to choose a special and meaningful gift to give - it is especially good for a gift for a man close to you - a great gift for fathers and husbands ( they’re hard to buy for, it this is an idea for next year!)
This one was so sweet - it was a Christmas gift for a customer’s housebound grandparents who love their home but can’t often see it from the outside. The rainbow was specifically asked for and it was really lovely to be able to paint this and bring some joy to people who don’t often get outside.
Let me share one final Christmas commission - I loved the originality of this one - I’ve actually no idea where it is, as it was one of 3 paintings commissioned by the same person as a Christmas gift for his wife - the three homes they have loved in together. The water in this one mesmerised me!
So there is a whistle stop tour of some of the watercolour paintings I have painted for people in 2022. I love these and the memories and stories they represent. I’m now painting for 2023, and already have 3 commissions on the go.
If you have a person you need to buy for who would love a painting of a building of significance to hang in their home, get in touch! And if you’re planning for Christmas, the sooner the better. Really. I book up by mid-end of November for Christmas commissions!
I hope you enjoyed perusing this collection of paintings!