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One of my dear friends, an elderly woman and one of the first women architects in Vancouver, lives in this heritage building in the West End of Vancouver.  An example of Baroque Renaissance Revival, it was built in 1912 by architect Phillip M. Julien and was the first building in the area.

In painting this house portrait for my friend, I wanted to not only show the character of this heritage building, but to also include personal touches dear to her heart –  her two cats, flowers and her view.

The challenge in painting this house portrait was getting the colour right. The colour seemed to change with the light in every photo I took of the building, from lemon yellow in bright sun, to warm yellow on a bright but overcast day, to pinkish and bluish tones near sunset, and to greenish one cold and dark winter’s day.  I did a lot of experimentation with the paint colour and in the end I’m happy with both the colour and in making this not just a painting of a heritage building, but of my friend’s home.


Stages during painting the heritage building house portrait:

  1. Painting the main building in a neutral colour, drawing of entrance way details
  2. Adding a roof line and beginning to add darks
  3. Adding the shadow
  4. Improving the roof line and looking at the details of the eaves, where the wall features meet the roof
  5. Adding more darks and some entryway details
  6. All the reflections in the windows, all the dark areas, more entryway details
  7. Window frames and decorative elements, details to the roof line, the entryway completed, all the flowers, trees and water, and the two cats in the windows!