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Mary Ann Kitchell Art Blog

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Mary Ann Kitchell

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I'm especially happy with the color of the trees achieved in this house portrait. Tree color has been dull in NJ this year due to lack of rain and some unusually warm days in September and October… Continue reading… 0 comments

The client's request here was to set the scene at sunset. My goal was to do this, but not have the overall effect be too dark or too overwhelming. I didn't want to place interest on the sky instead of the house… Continue reading… 0 comments

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

When clear pictures are received I begin with a rough sketch, followed by this more detailed one. I've straightened lines, added or deleted details as needed. An indication of shadows is included, as this will be my "working" sketch to be transferred to Arches watercolor paper… Continue reading… 0 comments

After transferring to watercolor paper, the first washes of paint are applied. I like to start with the largest ones: (sky, lawn, roof) to feel I'm making a lot of progress. My favorite thing at this stage is making a gray sky turn blue… Continue reading… 0 comments

I've added all the smaller details as well as checking what's already been done. This is the time I adjust values or change colors to more accurately depict the house… Continue reading… 0 comments

The house portrait is finished and matted for delivery. I'm able to trim bushes where necessary and add flowers at the client's request; Winter scenes can be transformed into Spring/Summer. If I've given you the feeling you're "home", I've done my job… Continue reading… 0 comments

The most popular house portrait size requested by my clients is 8 _ 10. In this particular case, 9 _ 12 was the better choice. We did not need much more space vertically, but horizontally the length of the home needed the extra two inches… Continue reading… 0 comments

One of the things I love about Spring besides the fact it signals the end of Winter, is the bright array of fresh new flowers and bushes in bloom. The red azaleas on this church property are spectacular and their size indicates they are quite old. This watercolor is another in my series of churches in my local area… Continue reading… 0 comments

The 2016 real estate market in New Jersey was very active. In recognition of this trend and the many wonderful and hardworking realtors I've met over the years, I'm continuing my realtor's discounted prices. When selecting closing gifts, I invite all realtors to check out my new Realtor Gallery on this site… Continue reading… 0 comments

Stone has always been one of my favorite things to render, whether as an architectural detail on a house, or as part of a stone wall. Both can be a variety of irregular shapes, very textural, with various colors or color combinations. This ink drawing was a pleasure to create, though watercolor could have been the more interesting choice. Painting wet into wet can create some wonderful stone colors… Continue reading… 0 comments

If you know New Jersey, you know Califon is a rural area. This house says "rural" to me .... complete with a large porch to enjoy quiet country days. I see myself in a rocker with a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer day… Continue reading… 0 comments

One of the interesting things about painting house portraits is the ability to change structural details when necessary. This ink drawing was completed using old and new photographs and notes from the client detailing memories of the house from her past. I love the architectural look that was achieved. It was necessary to show something of the neighboring homes, but those portions of the drawing were kept to a bare minimum… Continue reading… 0 comments

You've got great gift ideas: pet portrait, house portrait. Trouble is, there's not enough time to have it painted and shipped. Or you don't have pictures. Then there's the children. How about a print .... but which one would they like? A gift certificate is a great choice for any occasion. You'll receive a printed certificate in time for gift giving. See my Gift Certificate Gallery for complete details… Continue reading… 0 comments

I freely admit I prefer painting snow to shoveling it. We experienced our first snow of the Winter during the weekend of January 23rd, with a total of over 24" here in Berkeley Heights. One week later at least half of that had melted due to warmer temperatures. February 1st had a high of 55 degrees. Mother Nature liked us for Christmas: 72 degrees Christmas Eve and 66 on Christmas Day… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor was painted from several old black and white photographs submitted via regular mail. The family commissioned this work as a remembrance for their parents who were about to move to a smaller living space. It could also be a wonderful 50th anniversary gift! There was a large tree in the yard blocking the view of the front door. The clients asked that this tree be removed. I actually moved the tree to the right a little as I felt its size and age confirmed the era of the home. After I did this, I had to ask for help with the door detail! The client was able to find an old photograph of the inside of the door and I just reversed the detail to make it an exterior view. The clients and their parents were very pleased with the finished portrait… Continue reading… 0 comments

House portraits have been my primary subject for more than thirty years, originally starting with small paintings on wood. These sold well as Christmas ornaments. I then started working with real estate agents using watercolor and pen & ink. I enjoy the challenge of accurately depicting various architectural elements as well as sprucing up their landscapes… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor was created for a neighbor (the owner of Creative Paving) who was a tremendous help with snow removal last Winter. He used one of his machines to remove snow and ice from my driveway, reducing my labor significantly. Thanks, Pete. House portraits are not limited to residences, but can include industrial buildings such as this one, schools, churches, railroad stations and public buildings… Continue reading… 0 comments

312 NORTH 23RD

by kitchellstudio , October 11, 2015—12:00 AM

Topics: house portraits, watercolor

A house doesn't have to be grand to make a good portrait. The most important ingredient in a painting is the value to the recipient. This one is nicely landscaped and I'm sure holds many fond memories for the owners… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor was created from old photographs supplied by the Chatham, NJ Historical Society for the 2014 Centennial celebration of the Chatham, New Jersey train station. It was then turned into the poster shown, sponsored by Town and Country Realtors, and used as a fundraiser… Continue reading… 0 comments

BEHIND THE SCENES What do I think about when painting? My concentration is better some days than others. I generally work while listening to 60's & 70's rock and roll (the music I listened to as a teen). It gives me the energy I need; once in a while I'll listen to classical but find my brush moves slower. Getting lost in the painting process has been a salvation in times of stress. Some sessions are harder to get started but worth the effort. Some of my best work has been during emotional stress: all of my thoughts are poured into the work at hand. If you've been there, you know what I mean… Continue reading… 0 comments

MOST COMMON COLOR PROBLEMS Dark green frequently masquerades as black, especially regarding shutters. Often the only clue is a small patch of sunlight that confirms the color to be dark green. A very light colored home may appear to be white but may actually be beige or cream. A good test to determine the true color is to take the photograph and compare a section of siding with a sheet of white paper. Shadows may be toned down to a softer color so they don't appear so harsh. Editing the amount of shadow will help keep the focus on the house details. Deep shadows under a porch or too many shadows from nearby trees can be distracting… Continue reading… 0 comments

HOW IT REALLY IS For those who say they can't make a straight line with a ruler, be assured artists work hard to make it look easy. A good day is when everything falls into place: colors mix perfectly the first time, all lines are straight, and your hair dryer (yes, hair dryer) stops the mingling of paint at just the right time to get the effect you were after. The way the paint flows is influenced by the type of paper and its texture. Some days are good "tree" days when the paint makes great leaves. Others are a struggle to get the right leaf detail. I have one favorite brush for painting foliage; I know the leaves are in there, I just have to find them… Continue reading… 0 comments

TECHNIQUE What you see is not always what you get. The challenge here was the right shade of brown for the siding on the left and the stone on the right. Watercolors dry lighter than when wet so I try to plan for this when mixing paint. Another layer may be needed to get the right color. It doesn't have to be a disaster if the color dries too dark; it is sometimes possible to wipe out some of the color to get the desired effect. Along the same lines if your color doesn't look as warm or cool as that in the photographs, another layer may bring the color closer to the true shade. Keep in mind we work with paint that's not the same as house paint, nor are all printers accurate in depicting true color. As always, when in doubt ... ask the client… Continue reading… 0 comments

FINDING DETAILS Look for windows that may be hidden behind bushes. Sometimes the only indication is one small corner of the window. Even if you can't see the entire window it is usually identical to the one you can see. House details are commonly symmetrical. I trimmed the bushes quite a bit on this portrait, especially the right side lower ones. Painting windows on a house is a lot like painting eyes They don't "come to life" until the window panes and reflections are added, just as the eyes of a person or animal have life when the highlight is added… Continue reading… 0 comments

SUBMITTING IMAGES When sending images the clearest photographs possible give the best results This may mean sending more than one to show the complete house. Sometimes close-ups are necessary to bring details into focus. Gray skies aren't a problem; one of my greatest joys is making a gray sky a beautiful blue. The large tree in this photograph was eliminated as well as the hose reel by the lamp post. The flowers were brightened and the lawn lost its bare spots… Continue reading… 0 comments

I've recently started purchasing mats from this company and the level of service is outstanding. Their double mats are the perfect finishing touch to my house and pet portraits. I'm pleased to be part of their Wow! program. To learn more: https://www.facebook 0 comments

This pen and ink rendering of a circa 1898 Gothic Revival structure is in my series of local church drawings, and the last wooden church in Summit, New Jersey. It originally was a Swedish Lutheran church and became an English language church during the 1930's. The building was sold in 1959, becoming Mt Olive Temple United Holiness Church, a Pentecostal congregation… Continue reading… 0 comments

The front of this magnificent home was painted for a real estate marketing brochure. Because the back of the house was so grand, the watercolor shown was also painted and included in the brochure. When considering possible house portraits, think of something out of the ordinary, especially as a gift. The back of a home would be a great reminder of relaxing moments and special times over the years… Continue reading… 0 comments

This church is on a large piece of property in Summit, New Jersey, that for many years has housed cloistered Dominican sisters. It is a well-known structure in town at one of the main intersections; a beautiful building of stone and stained glass windows… Continue reading… 0 comments

Although there are many illustrations out there showcasing the most recognizable buildings on college campuses, this watercolor was a more personal gift. Created from an old photo, it depicts a fraternity house, also a very important building in the life of any college student. I'm sure the recipient was happy to receive a reminder of the good times during his college days… Continue reading… 0 comments

When I saw the photographs for this painting, I knew the landscaping around this house definitely needed improvement. I trimmed the shrubs and filled in any empty spaces between them. The topiary on the porch added an interesting detail as well. It's so much easier to create beautiful landscapes with a brush than actual gardening tools… Continue reading… 1 comment

This watercololor was created to be presented with a bid proposal to improve the facade of this downtown Berkeley Heights, New Jersey commercial building. The current Kings Market was due to move out and the building was scheduled for an update before the new occupant (rumored to be an Asian Grocery) moved in. Another example of our ever-changing world… Continue reading… 0 comments

The combination of brick and stone makes this a very impressive home. This was created from an architect's rendering and I added the background trees, shrubs and flowers to complete the look. It takes a talented architect to design a new home, and I am happy to help create the promotional materials needed… Continue reading… 0 comments

This drawing of a brick and stone church in Chatham, New Jersey was rendered in pencil. I wasn't sure about the brick but it came out dark enough to contrast with the stone, yet light enough that the mortar lines were visible… Continue reading… 0 comments

Bright and cheerful house colors such as this yellow lift your mood. This home has great detail, and as with most of my paintings, the shrubs and flowers are lush and healthy. The flower boxes provide a great accent to the architecture… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , October 22, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: gardens, house portraits, note cards, pet portraits

This image is part of a collection of blank note cards recently introduced in my newest ArtId gallery. House portrait and pet portrait cards may be ordered whenever a portrait painting is purchased. The other designs are usually in stock and I plan on expanding this collection in 2014. If you have any questions or suggestions for new designs, please feel free to contact me. See my gallery for complete details… Continue reading… 0 comments

This platter is an example of the work I'm doing for COLOR ME MINE, in Summit, New Jersey. Reference photographs are submitted by the customer, and then I prep and paint the chosen ceramic piece and return it to the shop for firing. The items can be personalized with name, address, and sometimes dates, according to customer instructions. COLOR ME MINE ceramics are both decorative and practical as they are food safe. Please visit if you are in the Summit area… Continue reading… 0 comments

Technically not a house portrait, I love the way the trees and shadows turned out. I definitely see myself sitting in the warm sun. This is one of the paintings in my TOP TEN FAVORITES gallery… Continue reading… 0 comments

Tudor is my favorite style of house and this is a great example. It's a beautiful property evoking the feeling that you can walk right up to the front door and feel welcome to enter. I also did pet portraits for this family, using the gate area as a background, which were later turned into postage stamps. This watercolor is another from my TOP TEN FAVORITES GALLERY… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , February 22, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: house portraits, painted on commission, watercolor

I appreciate the solid look of this home and the many details that make this house unique. I especially love the florets integrated into the slate roof, and the huge front porch… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor proved to be my most challenging house portrait ever. I had never painted a night sky portrait before, only sunsets. It took a while to get the sky dark, yet not too dark. The lights in the photographs I worked with were the most dominant feature. I had to make sure they were toned down enough to create the glowing effect needed and yet not overwhelm the painting. The client was pleased with the result and note cards made from the painting are on the agenda… 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

What I love most about this house is its color: very cheerful in a world of beige and gray homes. Picket fences usually make me pause as to whether or not they should be included, but so far those house portraits containing fences have had a successful result. The fences turned out to be part of the home's personality and the portrait would have looked "wrong" without them. Speaking of house colors, I recently had my home painted a dark gray. I love the way it looks with the white trim. In looking at it the other day, I realized it's an artist's color. While titled "outerspace" the color reminds me of Payne's gray watercolor paint… 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


by kitchellstudio , September 20, 2012—12:00 AM

Topics: NEW JERSEY, house portraits, pen & ink

I grew up in a home with a large front porch which served as a play area as well as an outdoor sitting space on those very hot, humid New Jersey nights. Older homes are special. The large porch on this one and the construction detail make a very interesting subject for a house portrait… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , September 8, 2012—12:00 AM

Topics: NEW JERSEY, house portraits, landscaping, studio, watercolor

This house with its three-car garage is representative of the style homes built in New Jersey in the last two decades: large homes built in larger developments. Not so bad, because the structures are all similar. I've even seen one house with a four-car garage. My personal preference? Small house (with space dedicated for an art studio, of course!) on a large piece of property. What's harder for me to understand is the tearing down of an existing home in a neighborhood and putting up a much larger one among the remaining small homes, usually with not much property left for enjoying the outdoors. The view is then "jarring" to the senses and, honestly, I'd prefer to see the larger homes on a large piece of land. All things in proportion… 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

Like the first day of school or the first day of the New Year, each painting is a clean slate, another chance to create something unique. My house portraits usually begin the same way: I put in the larger areas of color first (sky, roof, lawn, background trees), tricking my mind into thinking a lot of progress is being made. The windows, shadows and house color come next. The final stages begin with landscaping; I simplify what's there, deciding what to leave in or remove. Large, distracting tres almost always are left out. If the tree is old and important to the painting I will let it stay, trimming back some branches or moving it to the side a little so the house remains dominant. Any bricks, shingles, siding or stones are painted… 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

This watercolor needed an on-site visit with the realtor. Because it sits on a slope and the landscaping was overgrown, clear pictures weren't easy to accomplish. I made a few rough sketches to fill in detail that couldn't be photographed accurately. The landscaping was cleaned up, enhanced, and edited in the final painting. This was a 100 year old home waiting for the right buyer to see its potential and restore it to its former beauty… 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

Touches such as the flag, flower pots, and a name sign add a very personal touch to this house portrait. I will automatically leave out the less desirable things in your photographs such as garbage cans, overhead wires, roof vents, and many other necessary but usually unattractive items… Continue reading… 0 comments

Flower boxes are one of my favorite things and this home had plenty, all filled with beautiful blooms… Continue reading… 0 comments

This wasn't my Mom's home, but I titled it this way because Mom did have a gray house. The homeowner is a gardener with a very green thumb. I was happy to emphasize the plants and flowers dominating the yard… Continue reading… 0 comments

The pink weeping cherry is my favorite part of this watercolor. Always a welcome sight after a long, cold Winter… Continue reading… 1 comment


by kitchellstudio , May 5, 2011—12:00 AM

Topics: NEW JERSEY, Summit NJ, house portraits

Searching through computer files the other day, I came across images of watercolors I'd painted a while ago for the Summit, New Jersey centennial. Because the subjects were historical buildings, I wondered what they'd look like as black and white images. Being more "computer literate" than I was five years ago when I purchased my first computer (some people take longer than others to embrace change!) I transformed the color image into black and white. I like the look, perhaps because black and white has always signified a timeless quality for me, and I think the image now says "historical". This exercise could also be a way to check values during the painting process… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor painting was created from architect's renderings. It will be used to market the property before the house is completely finished. On this particular project we did both front and back views. The landscaping was my "vision" .... going one step further than just enhancing existing flowers and trimming shrubs on the usual house portrait… Continue reading… 0 comments

This house portrait has a lot of detail going on: birdhouse on the right; curved iron railings; small rock wall. When I accepted this commission I was reluctant to include the white fence, feeling it would detract from the house. The clients really, really wanted to include it in the painting as it was a significant identifying part of their property. I actually came to like it and am happy it was included… Continue reading… 1 comment

This is a great house, surrounded by bright Fall colors. The photographs submitted were actually snow scenes, with only a general indication of where the driveway led up to the house. The customer wanted a painting for their boss as a surprise gift and asked that I paint it in Fall colors rather than snow. Adding leaves to the trees was easy enough, but the driveway was a challenge. Having a limited image with the client's description of the driveway's direction forced me to "ad lib" to some degree. I was given carte blanche for the landscaping along the driveway, the only idea being it was lined with small shrubs. Feedback was the client was pleased, their boss even more so! And I had a chance to remove snow with only my paintbrush… Continue reading… 1 comment

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


by kitchellstudio , December 13, 2010—11:13 AM

Topics: Mexico, NEW JERSEY, gifts, house portraits, poolside, watercolor, winter

It is Winter here in New Jersey; we've been lucky with snowfall so far .... but it's been COLD ! I enjoyed doing this scene as a gift for a business executive in Chicago. It made the cold weather temporarily disappear. The painting hangs in his business office as a reminder of warm weather and relaxing days spent in Mexico. Two orders of notes were created from this painting and I understand it was because this executive didn't want to share with his business partner. I'm pleased with their appreciation of my work! House portraits are definitely a unique gift… Continue reading… 0 comments

Fall can be a beautiful time of year in New Jersey. While many clients submit images taken in Winter or early Spring and request I add leaves and flowers to the finished painting to create a Spring/Summer look, not very many request Fall colors. These Winter images are excellent to work with as they show the most house detail, free from leaved trees and bushes, etc. But they do not feed the soul as much as images with striking Fall colors. This recently completed painting of an old mill in Clinton is a 25th anniversary gift… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , October 20, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: Winsor&Newton, colors, house portraits, skies, watercolor

The lawns in my watercolor house portraits are painted wet in wet, the same techinque used for the sky. It took me a long time to realize lawns are not just one shade of green, and the color seen depends on the season. Sap Green is my "go-to" lawn color, combined with Prussian Blue or a touch of Burnt Umber, with Payne's Gray added for the shadow areas. The same colors are used for background trees, with Violet substituted for Burnt Umber in the shadow areas. All of my watercolors are Winsor & Newton… Continue reading… 1 comment

This turned out to be a wonderful surprise gift for the current owner of a family business. And something different for me ... an unusual but successful painting. There are no limits on subject matter as long as the reference images are clear: houses, banks, churches, coffee shops ..… Continue reading… 0 comments

My house and pet portraits are painted with Winsor&Newton watercolors on 140 lb Arches cold press watercolor paper. My favorite color for skies is Prussian blue. I have a small jar of this color mixed with water put aside for just skies. I wet the sky area first, then put down the Prussian blue wash, adding some Cobalt blue or Paynes gray. No two skies are alike. For the times when there is not much in the way of background trees I use a wadded paper towel (I find it absorbs liquid better than tissues) to create cloud formations. Again, like snowflakes, no two clouds are alike… 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

As I glance over at my drawing board, I catch myself reminiscing about the many house and pet portraits I've painted. Over the years I've met a wonderful group of people, fondly called "my realtors". One of these realtors is Scott Gleason of Westfield, New Jersey. Scott has recently sent me a link to a website about Westfield, a small suburban town of 29,000 residents which boasts many beautiful homes and easy commuting to NYC. When you have a minute, visit and see the many services and shops available. Should you want to learn more about Westfield, contact Scott at: or 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


by kitchellstudio , May 2, 2010—03:10 PM

Topics: colors, flowers, house portraits, painted on commission

Of the many styles and sizes of houses I've painted, I find a consistency in the colors. The most popular are white, light or medium gray, and the many tints of gray-beige, from warm pink-beige to creamy beige. It was a change of pace to paint this red house and a challenge to be sure it didn't become too bright! The landscaping was creative and I enjoyed painting more flowers and plants than lawn… 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

This is an older house painted from very old photographs. I removed the people shoveling the driveway and tidied the snow on the stairs and sidewalk. Many times old photographs are all that are available; this is not a problem if vital details are clear. The photograph can be up-dated by notes supplied by the client so the result is a portrait as the home appears today. Other times, the look desired is the house as it was many years agao. Either idea will work well if the appropriate details are provided… Continue reading… 0 comments

ArtId has been one of the best experiences of my artistic life. I've learned a lot about building and maintaining a website and connected with some wonderful people. Until recently my website has served as a reference for clients and potential clients. Last month, buyers searching for "house portraits in New Jersey" found my ArtId site and placed an order for the house shown. I appreciate their enthusiastic response to the finished painting and look forward to working with them again. Marketing was never my favorite thing: I'd much rather create than pursue the sales portion of an artist's life. I enjoy writing so I'll continue to post blogs as it's been an easy and productive way to keep my name in the public view… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , December 15, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: Sunset, house portraits, snow, watercolor, winter

Just as I can remove snow from a photograph to show green lawn, doing a snow scene of a client's home can be a welcome change. The challenge is to show portions of the roof or walkway while keeping it essentially a "snowscape". After all, if the home has a beautiful slate roof it is important that this beauty be included. This is the only sunset house portrait I can recall painting and I found the result very satisfying. This painting would make an ideal Christmas card… Continue reading… 0 comments

A familiar sight over many cities and a source of fascination for young eyes: a machine that flies in the air!! A departure from my house portraits, this painting was created to add a little whimsy to my usual routine. I enjoyed doing this watercolor and the others in my children's wall art collection and plan more in the future; life can sometimes be MUCH too serious… 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

This is a watercolor portrait of a cottage in Ireland, the result of a daughter's search for her mother's home. We also included a red bicycle as it was very much a part of her mom's life in Ireland. I love everything about this painting: the cottage, the sky, the water, the flowers ... everything! When asked to name my all-time favorite painting, it has to be this one… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , July 11, 2009—05:46 PM

Topics: boat, house portraits, summer, water, watercolor

This house portrait was fun .... water instead of lawn! I loved the challenge of painting the water and creating a Jersey Shore scene rather than the usual New Jersey suburban setting. Sort of a vacation for this artist ..… Continue reading… 0 comments

My main goal when painting a house portrait is to have the viewer feel they can walk right up to the front door and go inside ... that familiar feeling when you pull into the driveway and know that you're "home". When doing a painting for an anniversary gift I may be given photographs of the house as it is currently. The client then asks me to paint the house as it used to be. This can be accomplished easily based on details provided by the client from their childhood memories of living in the house. These notes may be accompanied by old photographs. If I have been successful in capturing a memory, this is the type of portrait that brings on "happy tears" from both the client and recipients… Continue reading… 0 comments

This painting was done for a family that was moving out of New Jersey. Their young child was very attached to the small red oak (shown at right in the painting) and was upset to leave the tree behind. The photo submitted did not show foliage but the client let me know this particular tree was important and it was a red oak ... no problem to add the tree's proper coloring. The same idea holds true when submitting photographs taken in the winter when there are no leaves on the trees or flowers in bloom. As long as I know if a tree is a pink cherry or if the homeowner plants red begonias in the summer, these items can be included. One of my biggest kicks is making a gray winter sky turn blue ...… Continue reading… 0 comments

Winter's almost over here in New Jersey but I understand from a friend living in Vermont that they still have snow. I'm very happy to see my daffodils blooming and hoping we don't see snow for Easter! Though April snow is rare and doesn't last long ... enough with Winter!!! This painting of a Vermont lodge could come from a fantastic vacation photograph or a photo of a second home. Photographs taken of buildings while on vacation in any part of the country, or the world for that matter, make ideal paintings. Hung on the wall in a den or family room, it will become a reminder of good times… Continue reading… 0 comments

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


by kitchellstudio , August 24, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: house portraits, watercolor

It's been my good fortune to do a lot of work through real estate offices and gift shops. Some of my work is also ordered through regular mail or e-mails. This opens up the opportunity to paint a wide variety of house styles from all over the United States and abroad. My work is in 39 states and 14 foreign countries. I especially liked this house in Arizona, with its bright sun and plam trees ... totally different from anything in New Jersey! While I enjoy doing the usual house painting with green lawns, I also look forward to the challenge of painting something different… Continue reading… 0 comments

I live in central New Jersey. Although I love the beach, the ocean, and watching the antics of the resident seagulls, I don't often have the chance to travel to the Jersey Shore. It's a treat to be able to paint houses from this area of New Jersey. I love painting the warm sand colors and tall sea grasses. The challenge here is often the lack of background trees. I've learned to incorporate clouds in the sky ... and if I think the client will approve, I add a seagull or two for more interest… Continue reading… 1 comment

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

This is a very old building in Summit, New Jersey, dating back to the 1800's and the image is part of my collection of New Jersey train stations. The reference photo I used for this colored pencil drawing had a sheep in it, a cute little guy, but not necessary to my composition. I could find no mention of sheep in my research material; I can only assume livestock were shipped from this station along with other commodities. The builder hoped his 1871 building would become a major part of a newly constructed rail line, thereby expanding his influence ... and his pocketbook as well I'm sure. You know what they say about "the best laid plans of mice and men" ... the tracks were moved in 1905 putting an end to our entrepreneur's dreams… Continue reading… 0 comments

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