Painting a house – Step by step

I can finally post this painting I did earlier this year, as I just gave it to some friends of mine as a housewarming gift. The house in the painting is a family holiday home in South Wales that has been in the family for generations and is full of happy memories. I’ve stayed there a few times myself and last time I was there I was inspired to take some photos to use as reference for a painting.

Here are some photos of the stages involved in painting this, one of the largest paintings I’ve ever finished (around 100x80cm).

First I sketched in the rough position of the house and the trees, and blocked in a bit of background colour, including some of the darkest areas. Extremely loose at this stage, with no detail. Everything here will be painted over in the later stages.


Next I blocked in the roof and lightly indicated the position of the details on the house, plus a bit more background colour.


I actually got ahead of myself a bit here, and started doing some detail on the house instead of finishing blocking in the main colours of the painting.


Now I finished blocking in the grass and the rest of the background.


Then I realised that the background trees surrounding the house were actually too dark, so I lightened them up and softened the edges to make them recede into the background and let the house stand out.


Now I start detailing the rest of the painting, starting with the tree on the right. Still trying to keep the brushstrokes nice and loose, and suggesting detail, rather than painstakingly drawing in every last branch.


Next, the tree on the left, and the bushes on the right side of the scene. Plus some more detail of the light patches on the trunk of the right hand tree.


In the final stages I finished adding detail where necessary, for example adding some interest to the foreground grass, and removing detail where I felt it wasn’t needed, by softening edges.


I can definitely see areas now where this painting could be improved. I don’t think the background reads as well as it could, and I’d probably grey down the grass a bit if I did it again, and perhaps zoom out a bit to make the house slightly smaller. But overall, I was quite pleased with how this turned out.






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