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Mary Ann Kitchell Art Blog

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Mary Ann Kitchell

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Like most of us, I have a lot of good intentions. I carry a sketchbook at times, but especially when I'm on vacation. I loved last year's trip to New Hampshire/Vermont and managed some quality sketch time. This painting was completed over the Winter using good photo references and sketches from my Summer trip. It's now hanging framed in my living room and a great reminder of a very enjoyable trip… Continue reading… 0 comments

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

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

This watercolor was created using the same photograph that was reference material for a previous pencil drawing. I guess you might consider this a more "formal" portrait… 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

This is another in my collection of children's sport prints. Please view my Gallery for the complete set and details on variations available as custom designs. There are a few more ideas perking for new designs as well as more uses for the current work. I welcome your comments and suggestions… Continue reading… 0 comments

This watercolor is the same as the kittens in my last blog… 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

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

Created from my original watercolors, this print celebrates a young child's awkward, yet enthusiastic, approach to sports. All of the sports prints shown in my Gallery are the result of many hours of sketching over a period of 8 years. The idea was conceived in 2007-8 but before too much had been accomplished, Fate intervened in the form of my husband's illness and then his death in 2010. While getting back into the swing of things, commissioned work had priority and serious effort on the prints was not resumed until 2014… 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

This is an unusual pet portrait. There is a lot of interest around the figures yet they remain the center of attention. I'm particularly happy with the stone bench which was rendered simply but still "reads" as cold stone. Yes, the photo was authentic ... and the bird unharmed… 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

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 painting is a head study rendered in watercolor, a surprise gift at Christmas. The reference photographs were excellent to work from and the client decided to order a second painting, a full body portrait… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , August 16, 2014—12:00 AM

Topics: animal drawing, dogs, note cards, pet portraits, watercolor

This is the second portrait. The background here has been simplified to showcase this full body portrait. Both of these paintings were made into note cards… 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

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

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


by kitchellstudio , February 4, 2013—12:00 AM

Topics: dogs, painted on commission, pet portraits, watercolor

The client provided good reference photographs, one for the pose and one for the coloring. (Printed images are not always accurate depictions of color.) I kept the background as requested but rendered it simply so that it wouldn't detract from the subject. Not sure what the dog thinks, but the artist and client are pleased with the finished portrait… 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


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

Topics: BABY, Girls, children's wall art, watercolor

"Sugar and spice and everything nice; that's what little girls are made of ..." Do people say that any more? I've updated my approach to girls' names by including sports or other activities not typically considered "girly". These names are all original art, created when the order is placed. They may be personalized with activities particular to the child and colored to match room decor… 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

This watercolor was commissioned by a client whose daughter was very enchanted with fairies. I kept the colors soft and it fit beautifully with the decor of the child's room. This name would be considered a custom design for which there would be an additional design fee. See my CHILDREN 'S NAMES GALLERY on my ArtId website for all details… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , July 14, 2012—12:00 AM

Topics: animal drawing, dogs, marketing, pet portraits, watercolor

One of the cutest little dogs I've ever painted, this watercolor was done for the winner of a prize I donated to a local pet fair. I loved painting her and the winner was very pleased with the result. Donations are a good way to keep your name visible ...… 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 is a custom designed child's name, painted in the style of my alphabet names but using the theme of "cheerleader", as requested by the client. This very personal gift was painted with team colors. If requested, I would have added the team mascot as well. Please visit my ArtId gallery for more details on all of my children's names… Continue reading… 0 comments

This is an example of a pet portrait painted as a "head study". The format works very well with smaller sized works because it shows more detail than a "full body" portrait painted on the same size paper. The most important part of any portrait is the head and facial expression, especially the eyes. One of the last things I add to such a painting is the eye highlights. These small details bring the pet to life… 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

This small watercolor was painted as a gift to my brother and sister-in-law as a remembrance of the fabulous trip they took this past summer. The painting was created from vacation photo's they shared. Such works make wonderful gifts or simply serve as reminders of your own good times… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , January 1, 2012—12:00 AM

Topics: anniversary, christmas, flowers, gifts, watercolor

In a world sometimes gone mad trying to accumulate material possessions in the hope of attaining happiness I'm always thrilled to have clients who put a lot of thought into gifts for others, whether Christmas, birthday, anniversary or other occasion. NANA 'S LILIES is one such gift painting, given with love from husband to wife this Christmas as a remembrance of her mom's life and the flowers she loved. May all who read this have a HAPPY NEW YEAR filled with family, friends and good health… 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

Have you ever been at the beach and noticed storm clouds in the distance? You keep hoping the rain will blow in the other direction! Our little friend hasn't quite finished her sand castle and hopes the rain won't spoil her afternoon… 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

A young lady living in California was the inspiration for the watercolor from which this print was made. Her grandmother gave some photographs to a mutual friend and this was the result. Though feeding wildfowl is prohibited in many areas, she's enchanted by the gulls and offers a snack of potato chips… 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

These little critters form the basis for a new style in my CHILDREN 'S NAME GALLERY. Each name is an original work of art on 140 lb watercolor paper, created to the customer's specifications when the order is placed. Always popular at Christmas, these names are also appropriate for births and birthdays. I think this alphabet will become my favorite. Although ...… Continue reading… 1 comment

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 framed piece was sold through a gift shop in Chatham, New Jersey. Though the shop had to close due to the recession, I'm still close friends with the owner. We sold many paintings during our business association, more than any shop who ever exhibited my work. While I don't normally sell my portraits matted and framed, I now plan to offer the option in the form of this classic gold frame used by the Chatham gift shop and framed by The Art Studio in Summit, New Jersey. When I started painting in the late 60's I bought all of my materials at The Art Studio. Over the years, all of my personal framing has come from this shop and I always defer to their judgment, knowing the result will be another perfect frame… Continue reading… 1 comment

The bravado of youth! Maybe this young man has dreams of Olympic glory on the slopes. Cold, crisp Winter afternoons were the inspiration for my series of children's prints created from original watercolors. I'm sure the skiers out there are ecstatic over the amount of snow produced this Winter; not so the rest of us. Our shovels are worn and our spirit longs for Spring… Continue reading… 0 comments

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

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! The reference for this watercolor was an amazing photograph forwarded to me by one of my realtors as a surprise gift for her client. The client had shared the image with the realtor and had no idea it would become a painting. I was told this fledgling robin wasn't harmed by the dog. Unfortunately, the little guy left .... or fell from ... the nest too early and didn't survive his adventure. Watching the recent Holiday snow melt here in New Jersey and seeing the robin in this painting reminds me, as always, I'm hoping for an early Spring. Whatever Mother Nature has in store for us, I wish all of you a Happy New Year… 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

Looking for a great gift for that new baby or your favorite child? This figure is part of my girl's alphabet. The alphabet consists of little girls and ballerinas and can be customized to coordinate with the color of the child's room. The names are painted on 140 lb Arches watercolor paper at the time of the order. I use the copyrighted letters to create the names; all names are original art, not prints… 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


by kitchellstudio , October 5, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: alphabet, boys, children's wall art, gifts, sports, watercolor

I recently opened a new ArtId gallery for my illustrated children's names. This alphabet was created many years ago and has been a good seller, bringing smiles to the moms and grandma's who purchase them. I have no doubt when the children were old enough to understand, they were delighted to realize they could read their name in the overall design. This figure is part of my boy's sports alphabet. The name can be created with a variety of sports figures, or the client may select specific sports to reflect their child's favorites… Continue reading… 0 comments

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


by kitchellstudio , July 27, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: Prints, beach, boys, children's prints, sand, skies, sun, water, watercolor

Feel the salt water spray. See the good natured fun. This is one of a series of prints created from original watercolors to celebrate sun, sand, and sparkling blue water under the summer sky. These two boys haven't a care in the world ..… Continue reading… 0 comments

I just love this dog. The reference photo had a complex background and it took a while to come up with one that was simplified enough so it didn't detract from the dog itself. This has come to be one of my favorites… 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

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


by kitchellstudio , February 11, 2010—12:51 PM

Topics: Prints, children, nature, snow, wall art, watercolor, winter

Snow day! School's out! A day for the local children to gather and race down the hill with their sleds. This is one of a series of children's snow scenes created in watercolor and reproduced as prints for wall art. The sleds in this print are different from the wood sleds with red metal runners ("flexible flyers" ... ?)of my youth ..… Continue reading… 0 comments

The only photograph the customer had was a snow scene without the decorations. With his instructions we were able to create a house fully decorated for Christmas. The completed watercolor made a memorable surprise gift for the customer's wife… Continue reading… 0 comments


by kitchellstudio , January 28, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: NEW JERSEY, Prints, SNOW SCULPTURES, children, snow, wall art, watercolor, winter

A clear, cold Winter's day ... and the snow is just right for making a snowman (or snow-woman!). Growing up in northern New Jersey in the late 40's and early 50's, there was usually plenty of snow to build a snowman and dress it up with whatever was around at the time. Walking around my neighborhood after it's snowed these days I hardly ever see a snowman… 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


by kitchellstudio , December 5, 2009—11:29 AM

Topics: animal drawing, dogs, pet portraits, watercolor

I've worked from many pet photographs in the past and the quality is sometimes not as good as with photographs submitted for house portraits. While houses do not move, animals do. The rule of submitting several photographs for best results would apply here. This pet portrait was painted from two photographs: the pose came from an image of a middle-aged Casey, and the coloring from Casey's most recent photo as an older dog. Yes, dogs really do get gray hair, just like people… 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


by kitchellstudio , August 17, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: Prints, beach, giclee, seashells, summer, sun, vacation, water, watercolor

Up until this last week we've had a cooler than normal summer in New Jersey, with lots of rain, especially in June. The rain has produced larger than usual numbers of mosquitoes .... not fun! I've missed the hot sun but not the typical summer humidity. The scene in this print could be a chance meeting at the beach, or a brother and sister searching for seashells on the family vacation. I am pleased with how the warm summer colors in the original watercolor reproduced in the print. I am thinking of using a giclee print company for future prints… Continue reading… 1 comment

This watercolor boat painting was a Father's Day gift for Dad's office. People sometimes hesitate when requesting something out of the ordinary but as long as the photo is clear there should be no problem. I felt the boat's name was interesting and using this view to include the name made the painting a more personal one… 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

I used this colored pencil portrait as a sample for one of the gift shops I work with. I tend to prefer colored pencil for most pet portraits as I'm able to capture more fur texture with this medium. I guess this preference goes way back to my earliest pencil drawings. I started with pencil studies and really enjoyed my pencil work. Clients kept asking for "color" so I gradually added watercolor to the drawings, doing the watercolor washes first, then adding pencil. My portraits are now either colored pencil or watercolor. A pet portrait in either medium would make a special gift for the avid animal lover… Continue reading… 0 comments

I've been painting house and pet portraits for many years; the flip side to my work has been watercolor illustrations for children. My most recent illustration work is a series of prints depicting common machines as wall art for boys' rooms. All the little boys I've ever known have gone crazy about fire engines, planes, and the big machines used in construction. The finishing touch on these prints is the mat. I've extended the design onto the mat for extra whimsy. Maybe it's the child left in me! In the future I'll be adding to this collection as well as working on prints for girls' rooms… 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

This is the second dog I've painted in the last year with the name Marley. No connection to the movie of the same name, but curious nonetheless! Several decisions must be made when ordering a pet portrait: Should the painting be a head study, or the full body? Generally, the small sizes are more appropriate for a head study, the larger sizes for full body portraits. Keep in mind a full body image on a small size makes the head and face small as well. Do you want the background painted exactly as shown in the photograph? Most of the time it is better to simplify the background, thus putting the emphasis on the pet. You may include all or only the most significant parts of the background. Using only a colored wash places added emphasis on the pet… Continue reading… 1 comment

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

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


by kitchellstudio , April 18, 2008—06:54 PM

Topics: animal drawing, nature, pet portraits, watercolor

This little critter was done in watercolor and I used pencil to add more texture to his fur. I still supplement some of my wildlife or pet portrait watercolors with pencil strokes, but am now relying more on the detail I can create using size 0 liner watercolor brushes. My favorite brushes right now are Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold, the sable/synthetic blends… Continue reading… 0 comments