This pen drawing represents a new avenue for me. The client requested a house portrait on plain white paper. Imagine that! She didn't want the historical envelope; she wanted my artwork for its own merits, without the novelty of the antique memorabilia. I was flattered, and just a little nervous, as I'd never actually done a pen drawing on plain paper. I knew from my reading that the project required a very smooth, heavyweight paper, and I had a pad of bristol plate and also bristol smooth. But I also knew that the surface should have a little bit of tooth, to hold onto the colored pencil pigment. I went with the bristol smooth, and it was perfect.
I was invited to see the house in person, and was able to take several pictures for reference. I knew exactly what to look for too, from past experience! I carefully examined the detail around the front entry, the profile of the house and whether any parts stuck out or were recessed, also the type of shingles on the roof, the depth of the soffits, and the different pitches of the roof sections.
Since I didn't have to work within the limitations of the 6 inch envelope, I could be more expressive with the foliage, and could plan the composition more creatively. The two big trees were covering most of the house, so I shrank them down and moved them out to the sides just a bit. But I also have learned from past commissions, that every home has certain features that are especially dear to the individual homeowner, and must be rendered accurately, else the drawing will not portray their home. I noticed how the two tall trees behind the house were crossed in a very distinct X shape, so I was careful to draw them just the same way.
A funny thing about drawing the foliage... I drew the free-flowing shapes of the leaves and boughs a little bit differently on different days. No matter how hard I tried to be consistent! I don't think anybody else can tell, but I call see which trees were drawn on Wednesday morning, and which were drawn on Friday night.
It was easier to draw in this larger scale, and it looks nice from across the room. With the mats, it will fit into a standard 16 x 20 frame. I'm heading out to deliver it this morning, and to talk about doing another house and an office building. But I'm going to work on the Poe drawing this afternoon. I'm not letting that piece get cold!
It's very satisfying for me, to know that my efforts will be appreciated and valued in somebody's home. I know that we artists like to win awards and be recognized among our peers, and I like that too... but I think this kind of internal reward, of knowing that you've truly affected somebody's life in even the smallest way... that's a far greater reward!