Architecturally Speaking – analysis of my work-in-progress!

In my last blog entitled Painting a Magnificent Home, I mentioned that I would be blogging about the painting I am currently working on while it is in progress.  I posted a picture of the home and my architectural rendering of it.  I talked of the usefulness of vanishing points and having to correct distortion caused by a camera lens when working from photographs.  Here I’d like to write about the painting process including some of the techniques I’m using to help make the painting interesting. 

First I’d like to say that I am not an architect.  I am a studio artist who has painted architectural structures for years.  I use some architectural drafting techniques getting started with a project, but within a short time I use my eyes to scrutinize my painting, and I’m constantly adjusting, tweaking, correcting, and improving my painting throughout the painting process. 

One major adjustment I made in my drawing was that I intentionally drew the curved driveway closer to the viewer than in the photograph to make it a more prominent feature of the property.  This allows the center island to be viewed from a more elevated vantage point and brings the statue of the Great Blue Heron more into focus (or will when it is finished).  It also allows me to include the herringbone-patterned pavers in the driveway which one notices instantly upon driving up the lengthy stone surface.

By enlarging the surface area of the driveway it also created an overall tilted plane to the grounds surface, which allowed me to incorporate more of a water view on the horizon line.  The 180-degree water view from the back of the house is a stunning one and to not incorporate it into a painting of this home would do it an injustice.

Once I started painting I noticed that some of my rooflines needed to be adjusted because of the tilted plane of the ground.  I had to study my painting in progress many times in order to get the building structures in the correct perspective with the plane of the ground. 

One of the many advantages of oil paint is that adjustments can be made throughout the process and there is no need to panic or start over. 

I held off on painting the smallest of details, like windowpanes, until I was completely satisfied that the perspective of the structures was just how I wanted it. 

So those are some of the architectural challenges I have faced with this particular painting.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a project like this in the beginning, but knowing that I can tweak it along the way makes it enjoyable and not stressful. 

As far as painting techniques go, I’m employing the use of a palette knife to add texture to areas where it will enhance the painting.  My client likes texture in paintings, so I thought that this scene in particular could be appreciably enhanced by the use of a palette knife.  The stone surfaces will have little flecks of paint that will catch the light and add dimension to the stone.  The same goes for the flowers and bushes, making the colors pop. 

I’ll put more brushwork and some texture into the sky when I get back to finishing off the sky. 

I still have quite a long way to go with the pavers on the driveway.  The ones I have painted so far still need to be refined. 

I also have to paint in the woodwork on the trim, the roof shingles, work on the trees, grass, water, arbor, etc… 

Once all of that is done I will go back and look for any lighting opportunities and enhance or accentuate them.  This will include glazing cast shadows, placing highlights in light saturated areas, and darkening down shaded areas. 

I was feeling like I was getting there until I just listed all the things I still have to do!  :-)

Please check back soon to see my finished painting.  If it wasn’t for the herringbone paved driveway I’d be done by now!  :-) I hope I didn’t bore you with the architectural lingo.  Thank you as always for reading my journal and for your interest in my art!  

Magnant home drawing by William R. Beebe

Magnant home drawing by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress (detail shot) by William R. Beebe

Magnant home painting-in-progress (detail shot) by William R. Beebe


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe