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Millie Gift Smith Art Blog

Painting Old Victorian Houses

by MILLIEGIFTSMITH , July 26, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: All Posts

I have painted many old houses-some were commissions. One time I painted four oil paintings of a one hundred year old home showing the four different seasons of the year. It was commissioned by the four children in the family. After the first one saw his painting, they all wanted one.

I think it is fascinating to paint old houses. Most of the time I take pictures of the house from different angles and then work from the photos. I love the feelings and impressions you get when you look at a majestic, weathered old house. You think of all that has happened in those old homes and you get a romantic, nostalgic feeling imagining the lives of the people who have lived there. I guess I'm an old-fashioned romantic at heart.

However, getting the perspective right is not easy, especially with a Victorian house that has so many different angles, cupulas and gingerbread trim. Sometimes you have to go back into the painting several times to get the perspective right. This painting I did here was at one time an orphanage. It has since been torn down to build a subdivision, but at least I have the memory of it through my painting. That's the wonderful thing about paintings--you can capture the essence of a place and keep it in your memory forever.

I also painted a Victorian home that belonged to the president of our local Junior College. I had driven by his home at night at Christmastime when it was snowing and the house was all lit up with decorations. There were candlelights in all the windows and a big Christmas tree in the parlor. As I drove home I memorized the scene and later painted a nostalgic winter scene of the house with the lights of their beautiful Christmas tree in the parlor window. I exhibited the watercolor painting in a show at the college and the board of directors of the school bought it for their president. He was thrilled with the painting. I also did some paintings in oil of that same house and have sold all but one.

We have so many old Victorian homes here in Jackson, but there are some beautiful ones in nearby cities as well. I did a watercolor painting of an old house in Battle Creek that I entered in a show and won honable mention. I love the feeling one gets of seeing an old home and thinking of all the things that have happened in those homes. I still do commissions once in a while, so if anyone out there has a lovely old Victorian home you want captured on canvas or on watercolor paper, let me know. Millie



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