Little House on the Main Line

I was commissioned to paint a bridal shower gift recently – a portrait of the little brick home that the happy couple will soon be settling down in. It’s located in one of the charming towns on Philadel-phia’s Main Line, the string of villages that grew up around the Philadelphia Railroad line from the center of the city out to its western suburbs in the 19th century.

My client gave me several photos of the house that were very helpful, and also photos of the couple, since we wanted to depict the newlyweds sitting on their porch.

I started with a basic pencil sketch of the house from the front with the couple on their front porch together.

I drew a tighter but simple sketch of the couple, and then we thought to add their dog into the scene, so my client sent me cute pooch photos.

I tightened up the whole drawing to show to my client before I started painting, and with her approval I transferred the drawing to illustration board and began adding color.

The finished painting is below – it looked great in the frame my client picked, and the bride-to-be was thrilled with her very personalized gift!

Wedding Prayer Watercolor

After seeing my illumination of the Lord’s Prayer a few months ago, an acquaintance commissioned me to illuminate a quote from scripture as a wedding gift for an engaged couple in their family. They asked for the traditional First Corinthians quote about love, weddingscroll_parshalland a floral border. The couple met at, and will be married in, the lovely St. James Episcopal Church in Collegeville, PA, so I thought I’d do a little painting of the church too.

I started with a pencil sketch. I told my clients right off the bat that I am not a calligrapher, but that I could set the type through my printer and print it on the art, which they were fine with. They found out that the bride likes the colors blue and red, so I planned on a red rose border with some forget-me-nots and one blue hydrangea at the top. They could not get any information on the specific flowers in the bride’s bouquet, or else I would have put in those particular flowers. As it turned out, the bride-to-be told me later that the hydrangea reminded her of Chestertown, MD, where she had lived, and so was a lovely memory.

I went onto a color sketch, done just with colored pencils.  I showed the sketch to my clients and they approved.

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I thought I better practice the flowers in watercolor, since that’s how I planned to do the finish.  I practiced half of the design on some bristol paper, which was all I had around at the time.

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Then I bought some 90 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper – great paper for painting, but thin and flexible enough to easily go through my home printer. I cut the paper to size and printed the scripture quote onto the center; then carefully covered the type, so no water would get near it, transferred the drawing and painted the border and church. I bought a nice mat and frame, and the piece all came together for a meaningful keepsake for the couple.

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Pressed Flower Wedding Keepsake

pressedflowers_juliebouquet_detailMy daughter was married one year ago at New Year’s Eve and carried a beautiful bouquet of roses and greens designed by the artisans at Doylestown Flowers.  I’ve always loved pictures of pressed flowers, and thought it would be a lovely keepsake to save the flowers from her bouquet. While the happy couple were on their honeymoon I dried petals, greens and stems from her bouquet between pages of large books. Recently I chose some ivory parchment paper as a background and designed a simple picture from the dried items. A mat and silver frame completed the gift for their first anniversary.

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