175th Anniversary for a Lovely Church and Congregation

St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Doylestown is holding many festivities this Saturday, April 22, on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of its first service in the church in 1848. The community is invited starting at 1:00 pm to visit this beautiful Gothic Revival church and enjoy the conviviality that I know, firsthand, is the hallmark of St. Paul’s joyful and generous members.

St. Paul’s owes its existence to Mrs. Elizabeth Pawling Ross, who would ride her horse 26 miles from Doylestown into Philadelphia faithfully every month to attend Holy Communion at the Episcopal Church there. She eventually petitioned the diocese to create an Episcopal parish in her hometown of Doylestown, which in the 1840s was little more than a village crossroad between Philadelphia and Easton. I was happy to draw Mrs. Ross for a coloring book that St. Paul’s will have available Saturday for children to color, while their parents are having refreshments or touring the graceful interior of the building.

Starting at 1 pm Saturday, in front of the church if the weather is fine, a brief ceremony including a greeting by our town mayor and a reenactment of the opening of a time capsule from the church’s inception will take place; from there visitors may stroll from docent to docent inside, hearing interesting facts about the history and architecture of St. Paul’s, chatting with uniformed members of the Bucks County Civil War Round Table, enjoying refreshments and a colorful timeline display in the parish hall, seeing the Mercer tiles in the chapel below and even viewing the lovely enclosed columbarium garden. At 5 pm the same day, St. Paul’s excellent choir will sing a choral evensong service, and on Sunday morning at 10 am the rector, Fr. Daniel Moore, will celebrate a traditional Mass using prayers and hymns of the mid-1800s. Everyone is welcome at these events.

I was pleased to design the logo above for St. Paul’s occasion, which is being used on banners and t-shirts and the like for this year of celebration. I did this illustration below a few years back, depicting the church’s Easter Vigil procession.

St. Paul’s is a very charitable church within our community – for decades it has run Christmas in Doylestown, which benefits local shelters, and they now have a small ‘community food pantry’ in front of its steps for anyone in need. At this weekend’s events there will be a spot for donations to help the underserved in the community and the parish will also host a meal for those in need on Sunday, apart from the festivities – a regular occurrence for this generous church, which does not forget its mission even in the midst of its celebrations.

For all events at St. Paul’s, see their website here.

House Portrait of a Family Home

A while back I was asked to paint a home, to be given as a remembrance gift to the owners who were downsizing to another residence. The client sent me many good photos of the neat-as-a-pin cottage-style home, so I started with two pencil sketches from slightly different angles.

They picked the second sketch, which I then scanned and roughed in the color with acrylic paint and prisma pencils.

I had originally cropped the picture on these sketches to keep the image suited for an 11″ x 14″ frame, which I usually do to make it easy to frame. The client was not concerned about getting a custom frame made so she asked I zoom in a bit more to focus on the house and gardens.

I painted the finished piece in acrylic washes on illustration board, shown below.

A Bucks County Farmhouse Monochrome

I was asked to paint an old farmhouse, dating to the 1800s, using an old photo provided, since the house, while still existing and lived in, is much changed and renovated over the years. My client asked for the painting to be in sepia tone, to give it that nostalgic feel.

I used the photo reference exactly since there was no other information about the structure, and the photo was fairly good – a farmhouse along a horizon, with distinctive trees, a few outbuildings (we think they are an outhouse and springhouse) and a field in the foreground, giving it the feeling of a hand-built home plopped in the middle of a vast rural America – which this most likely was at the time. I started with a pencil drawing.

I did a rough tonal sketch by painting over a scan of this sketch in grays, then made it sepia with a click of a computer key, and the client approved it –

I took one photo while I was working on painting it on illustration board with acrylic paint washes –

And finished and delivered it yesterday for the client to frame. The only real change I made from the original photo was to add two birds flying low on the horizon – I think it’s always nice to show some life and movement in a landscape.

Drawing for a Save-the-Date Card

A Mother of the Bride asked me to draw the lovely exterior of her daughter’s wedding venue for the Save-the-Date card. The venue will be The VanLandingham Estate in Charlotte, NC, and it’s a stunning building. The client showed me several other samples of cards with venues drawn in simple line and I loved the classic, elegant look of them.

She sent me a perfect head-on photo of the building and I drew it first in pencil.

A graceful and dignified mansion, is it not? After the ok from the client I inked it in cleanly with black ink and sent it off.

Just a few days ago the Mother of the Bride sent me the finished card, beautifully printed on heavy rag paper. The letterpress printing was done by Scott McClelland, with assistance from Bo, at Paper Meets Press in Glenside, PA. Letterpress is a traditional printing technique that creates a relief of the type and image in the paper – you can feel the depression if you run your fingers across the text. Some of the impression is visible in the closeup below.

I think the finished card is a very stylish and appropriate look for what I’m sure will be an elegant wedding.

Portrait of a Charming Little Home in Vermont

A friend commissioned me to paint her daughter’s adorable first home, as a gift and celebration of this milestone. I waited for a while so they could send me some photos of full trees and flowers blooming around the house – Vermont’s spring comes quite a bit later than it does here!

I started with a pencil sketch. My client also sent photos of her daughter’s cat, so I pencilled him in on the front porch.

After some more recent photos were sent I was able to add newly-planted flowers to the color sketch.

And after approval from my client I transferred the drawing to illustration board and painted it using a combination of prisma pencils and acrylic paint washes.

House Portrait of a Lovely Doylestown Home

I was asked to paint a charming home built in the late 1800s in my hometown, a house that catches many an eye with its sunny coloring and delightful front gardens.

I took a number of photos for reference and consulted the owners about what season to paint. I tried pencil drawings of both summer and spring.

And then I tried rough color sketches of both seasons in colored marker.

We determined that spring gave both color and a good view of the house, since surrounding trees were still lacy enough to see through. I also put in the small figure watering the flowers, the lady of the house, to make it personalized.

For the finished painting I used watercolor board and acrylic paints diluted like watercolors. Here are two partial views –

And the completed painting –