House Portrait Revisited

27 Aug

After seeing the house portrait I made back in February, my stepdad requested one of our house. His birthday was a few days ago and I decided it would be a perfect gift for the occasion. The overall technique for this project is the same, but I used acrylic paint on canvas instead of watercolors.



Tracing paper


Archival Ink pens


Acrylic paint

Paint brush

Picture frame



Printer – optional

I took a bunch of pictures from all different angles to make sure I could see all the details I needed. I chose this one for the composition – the rooflines(though hard to make out in this image) have distinct lines and all of the major elements of the facade are visible. I upped the contrast and sharpness to their maximum to make tracing easier.

Instead of printing out the image and tracing on a window, I traced directly on my computer screen.

Once everything was traced, I used my printer/copier to blow the image up to fit the 12″ square canvas I had.

Then I drew the image onto the canvas freehand in pencil. This was small and simple enough for me to just do by hand rather than transfer a mirrored image like last time. Once the image was drawn in pencil, I went back over with pen and added in textural details. I also decided to keep the trees in the image, but give them a translucent feel so that the house is still the focal point.

Using acrylic paints watered down greatly, I started paint from the back forward. So the sky and grass were first, then the house and driveway then the trees. The ink began to bleed a bit because of the watery paint but not enough to blur the image.

I found this shadow box frame at Michaels that I thought would allow for the thickness of the canvas inside of the frame. Once I got it home I realized the canvas was just the tiniest bit too large to fit in, so I got to work on making it fit.

There was a little lip on the inside of the frame that allowed me to glue the canvas to the back, but that meant the bracket to hang the frame would be recessed. So, off came the bracket.

Here is the original backing for the frame, I glued that to the back of the canvas in order to protect the canvas and have somewhere to re-attach the hanging bracket to.

I didn’t like that the side of the canvas was showing though, so a quick coat of black paint around the edges fixed that up.

Done! This project took me just a couple hours and since I had everything besides the frame already, cost me less than $10, but gifts like these are thoughtful, personal and always a hit. This now sits prominently on a bureau in my parents’ bedroom. Happy birthday, Mark!



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