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Mary Ann Kitchell Art Blog

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Mary Ann Kitchell

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I have reduced my shipping fees to one price for any size house or pet portrait painting, effective immediately. Please visit my gallery for examples of my work; I will be happy to answer any questions you may have… Continue reading… 0 comments

The appeal of this courtyard was the peaceful feeling I got when looking at it. I've been exploring the structures people use as worship spaces and this seemed a perfect place to talk to God or take time out during a busy day. The sunlight streaming down was a definite plus. I'm not sure where my church project will take me. All I know for sure is there's always something more to do and learn… Continue reading… 0 comments

In starting a series of paintings and drawings on churches and church architecture, I decided to explore various media and rediscovered my love of pencil work. I enjoy the process of shading and showing texture; my favorite pencil for this is 2B. A 2H pencil remains top of the list for transferring drawings to watercolor paper. Pencil drawings were the first works I offered for sale, so the use of pencils has felt like finding an old friend… Continue reading… 1 comment

I took the reference photo's for this ink drawing myself. While not difficult, it gave me an idea of what it's like to capture detail on film, especially if the building is long. There are times when the image must be photographed in sections then pieced together to provide an accurate image… Continue reading… 0 comments

Summit, New Jersey has some fascinating older architecture in the downtown business district. This is another drawing created for the Summit Centennial. Unfortunately common in recent years, storefronts have changed as businesses move or close, and this drawing simply captures a moment in time: a record of the history of Summit. One of my memories of visits downtown during my younger years was the delightful aroma of baking bread coming from Trost's Bakery. If the wind was right you could smell the baked goods for a block or more… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor was done for the client to give to her son upon his graduation from Florida Tech in 2011. She didn't have great pictures but some research on the Internet provided the details needed to successfully complete the painting. This gift idea can be considered for any high school or college graduate… Continue reading… 0 comments

The majority of my work is watercolor with only the occasional pen and ink. The condominium portrait shown was a challenge in creativity: show enough to make the owner proud, but leave out surrounding material belonging to the neighbors. The process is a little easier with free-standing homes as most times there's a natural cutoff separating neighbors. It's usually easy enough to eliminate the neighbor's house and replace it with vague background trees or bushes, sometimes giving the impression the portrait property is larger than it actually is… Continue reading… 0 comments

This print is the result of scanning an original watercolor into my computer and converting it to a black and white image… Continue reading… 0 comments

My pen and ink work has been full of detail ... very tightly rendered with F&W ink on Strathmore vellum Bristol paper. This house portrait was commissioned with the request I try to duplicate another artist's style. It was to be hung with another work created in a "looser" style. Rather than reject the request outright, I decided to give it a try. The client was very pleased with the result and I'm thinking of doing more using this technique. My watercolors have become a little "looser" over the years; perhaps it's time to experiment with pen and ink. It's curious I selected a painting with palm trees on a day in New Jersey that was below zero overnight and has now reached the "warm" temperature of 14 degrees. Very hungry for Spring ...… Continue reading… 0 comments

A few years ago, I received a commission to paint two watercolors ... one of an existing building and another of the building as it existed some 50 years prior, when the business opened its doors. That business was started by one generation and carried on by succeeding generations. The watercolor shown here was commissioned as a business anniversary gift from the staff for the owner. This watercolor could also be reproduced for notes or other promotional material… Continue reading… 0 comments

I've created several watercolors of this church: as a gift for a retiring minister, as a program cover for church events, and as a record of alterations to the existing structure. The painting shown was a recent commission when a new, higher steeple was erected. You wouldn't know that this beautiful steeple houses a cell tower for the phone company! I am very happy with the cloud formations, and the overall feeling of height… Continue reading… 0 comments

Painting house portraits is like putting a puzzle together. How many rooms are there; how large are they? What is the shape of the roof? How do the doors, windows, and other details fit together to create the overall design? I start with a preliminary sketch which is like a road map telling you where you're going and why ... that shadow is on the left because the sun shines from the right. The house is the star of the painting, the landscaping the supporting cast to enhance the building. The goal of my painting is to create an inviting look that makes you want to step right up to the front door. And, of course, my flowers always bloom brightly; the shrubs are full, and the grass clean and green… Continue reading… 0 comments

Not the typical house portrait, but a challenging change of pace. This watercolor was painted in a larger than usual size as a retirement gift for one of the Banco Popular officers. It was eventually matted and framed by the clients for a beautiful presentation to the retiree. I don't usually mat or frame, preferring to leave what I feel is a very personal choice to the customer. I am always grateful when offered the opportunity to see my work framed. It is amazing how many choices of framing are out there ... many of them combinations I would not have thought of myself ..… Continue reading… 0 comments

Built around 1930, the Strand Theater was one of two movie theaters in downtown Summit, New Jersey. The Lyric Theater was destroyed by fire in 1951 and was not rebuilt; the site has been a parking lot for many years. The Strand was closed in the late 1980's. That section of Springfield Avenue was renovated and reopened in 1989 as The Strand Mall. This pen and ink drawing was completed from old photographs which unfortunately did not have a good view of the front entrance due to the heavy shadows cast by the marquee. It does capture my memories of red plush seats and the smell of popcorn. I wish to publicly thank the Summit Historical Society for their diligence in keeping records of Summit's past and their helpfulness to those of us who search for old photographs… Continue reading… 1 comment

This portrait was commissioned by a realtor to be used for promotional brochures and newspaper advertising. This type of painting involves taking an architectural line drawing and creating a dimensional house portrait. Most of the time the construction has not yet started or is only half done. Many of the homes being buiilt in my area of New Jersey are sided with beige or gray. This house was a welcome change .... a distinctive and beautiful shade of green. Though it can be frustrating when the builder makes changes mid-stream, such as using brick instead of stone, this work has become one of my favorite things. I usually have a free hand with the landscaping. Something simple, yet effective, to show the house to its best advantage… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor was painted for a community service organization, and note cards were created as well. Many times a house portrait is just the thing to honor retiring staff members or someone who has a record of outstanding service. I have also been asked to create a house portrait as a group gift when one of the families in a neighborhood is moving away. It is an excellent remembrance of friends and memories made… Continue reading… 0 comments

This Roman Catholic church is more than 100 years old. Its construction is stone, with three marble altars. Though the original candle offerings have been electrified many years now, the original statuary and altars remain. The stained glass windows are huge, and absolutely spectacular with the sun shining through them. The church has been restored several times over the years. At one point a mural was painted on the ceiling over the main altar. The latest renovation two years ago modernized the interior to some degree and the mural was removed. I miss it. Some day I'd like to paint a series of images of all of the houses of worship in my area. I think the diversity of styles would make an interesting exhibit… Continue reading… 0 comments

This school was built in 1923 for grades 9 - 12. It is typical of the Collegiate Gothic architectural style popular at the time. There are five gargoyles over the front entrance that unfortunately don't show up clearly on small formats. I've always meant to do separate drawings of these little guys, and some day I may do just that! I used wadded paper towels to remove pigment and form the clouds as I find it absorbs better than tissue. The fun part is not knowing exactly what the cloud shape will be until you lift the paper towel ... most of the time I'm very pleased… Continue reading… 1 comment

The Summit Diner was built in 1938. As far back as 1910 there was a horse-drawn lunch wagon on wheels on this site in downtown Summit, New Jersey. The Summit Diner is listed in a book titled "Jersey Diners" written by Peter Genovese. The author states his 1996 research found 570 diners in New Jersey. A persistent rumor has been that Ernest Hemingway ate at the Summit Diner. Patronized by police, public works people, and corporate suits alike, the Diner has been painted by many artists. I've done numerous studies in ink and watercolor, as well as a three-dimensional piece in wood. This painting is a watercolor. I found it a challenge because the only green was a straggly tree growing in the alley behind the restaurant… Continue reading… 1 comment

One of my greatest joys is to take a house photograph that has bare tree limbs and gray skies and turn it into the ideal Spring day, complete with blue skies, lightly greened trees, and flowering plants. And it's much easier to eliminate snow from a photo than to shovel it from your sidewalk!! I believe many times a house photographs better on a cloudy day, as the shadows are not so dark as to eliminate detail, and the colors are more true to life. I've worked with many "bad" photo's and find that most times my clients feel I've created a special painting for them. If someone can describe or identify the bushes or plants I can include color in the portrait that doesn't show in the photo. Painting a house portrait is like putting a puzzle together… Continue reading… 0 comments