A friend is suggesting I do a print of his aunt's house, and I'm just beginning to play with ideas. A single print is a lot of work for one commission. I usually do house portraits in watercolor. But I got requests for more midtown neighborhoods when I had my Chickasaw Gardens print at the crafts fair recently. Cooper Young and Central Gardens folks were especially vocal, but I live in Evergreen, and this house would be pretty perfect for the history of the neighborhood, so I may do Evergreen first as I revisit and expand my arts and crafts places series. (I also need to go back and finish the Shakertown one that's been dormant for a year or so, but that's another post...)
I did the watercolor sketch on site yesterday and of course fell in love with the tree. Then I came home and tried two different quick composition sketches.
I tried it horizontal first, and it seemed a little static compositionally, although the wide porch and tree both feel welcoming to me. Then I tried vertical, and I'm leaning towards that one, though I think the letters in the sketch are too tall. And I'm not sure that my arts and crafts lettering I've done in the rest of the series will look good "condensed" (tall and skinny in font-speak). I may have to look at some other possible fonts.
I thought about color options while I was waking up this morning, which is always a fertile creative time for me, and I made the color notes after I came down for breakfast. If I do them on the sketch, I don't lose my ideas later.
I also banked a couple of photos of the house so I'll have more details when I need them --- especially since the tree will be losing the rest of its leaves any day now.
I'll keep thinking about my options and playing with sketches before doing a final drawing at the actual size I want the print to be. And, of course, I'll get feedback from the customer in this instance, since the genesis for this one is a commission.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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