Lillian Connelly-watercolor-art

She’s a Brick House and I Painted Her

Lillian Connelly-watercolor-art
Watercolor and ink on watercolor paper. Size: 18×24

I painted a brick house. I call this house a her, but in reality the house is probably gender neutral. OK, the truth is, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get that song stuck in your head. Sometimes I use my power for evil. I can’t help it. I am probably going to have to do some serious volunteer work to make up for that, but that’s a price I am willing to pay. Just look at the pretty picture and sing the song quietly to yourself. You know you want to!

watercolor-art-progress shot
Progress shot of a brick house watercolor painting.

This was a commission I got from a woman, who may or may not live in South Dakota. She wanted a portrait painted of her house since she doesn’t have any pets. I have to admit I was intimidated because I don’t have a lot of practice painting buildings. The last successful painting of a house I made was in 8th grade. To be a fair, I did win an award for it…because of my fantastic use of color. If my life were a novel, that award moment would have been an excellent literary example of some serious foreshadowing. Anyway, as I was saying, I was scared of the straight lines and the brick and the whole, “OH MY GAWD, it’s a building” thing. I had some serious doubt racing through my mind.

I spent the past three weeks thinking about it and very little time actually painting it. I cried to my husband that I might not be able to do it. He rolled his eyes…often. I procrastinated by washing dishes and painting rainbows and doing self-portraits. Finally, I decided it was do or die time so I got down to business.

Once I started it went pretty smoothly. I got hung up a few times on the brick. It took longer than I expected so I would take little breaks and collage for a while and then return to the bricks. That way I could see them with fresh eyes. I didn’t want to get burned out on the rectangles or rush through them. I stuck with it and I am glad I did! The bricks really make this house. I mean, the bricks give her character. She’s a brick house, after all. She’s totally letting it all hang out. Just look at those gorgeous flowers, right?

watercolor-brick house-painting
Progress shot of a brick house watercolor painting.

So, I learned a few lessons from this painting. I learned that I can do things I don’t think I can do. I learned breaks are good, but not if they are just procrastination based on fear. I also learned that doing something new and scary is exciting and invigorating. I already knew this, but I need reminders often. I mean ALL THE TIME. Like daily. I’m a slow learner, you guys.

On top of all of that, this project unleashed my creative spark. I’ve got a billion ideas going on in my mind right now and after a trip to the art store I have the materials to actually do some of them. I think I have finally emerged from the cranky slump I have been in. I woke up feeling optimistic and excited today and full of energy. Like the future is all bright and shiny, and the grass is greener, and I might actually have a future in this whole making art thing that has been stressing me out so much lately.

Close up of my watercolor brick house painting.

I just want to say thank you to the nice lady, who may or may not live in South Dakota, for commissioning me to do this piece. Thank you for pushing me beyond my comfort zone and for giving me a project that not only helped me gain more confidence and grow professionally, but also helped me move past this blaisé attitude I have had lately. It feels good to be back in my creative groove again!

Art is good. So are the people who support your efforts. So are the people who may or may not live in South Dakota…in a brick house. She’s might mighty and lettin’ it all hang out. Sorry. I just can’t help myself.



20 thoughts on “She’s a Brick House and I Painted Her”

  1. Oh it’s beautiful! Nicely done! I took a watercolor class awhile back and it was the hardest thing to do … so I totally appreciate anyone who is talented and can create such a lovely piece as this one. Great job!

    1. Thank you! Watercolors can be tricky, but I have learned to go with the flow…literally! Paint and water swirl around sometimes, but usually it works out OK in the end.

        1. Thank you for sharing his blog with me! I added him to my The Arts! list on Twitter. I have a daily that comes out with stories generated from the people in that group. I am looking forward to seeing more of his paintings. I can tell he has a love affair with color like I do!

  2. Lily, this can be my fav painting of yours! Honestly. I love it: the colours; how real yet how fairy-tale-ish it is; and the fact that even though it is a painting of a building it evokes some feelings and emotions. Good job! Hell yeah you are back in the game (though I never thought you were out of it)!

    1. This house is adorable. It was like a fairy tale before I ever painted it. I’m back in the game! Woot! It feels good. I like feeling happy instead of sad and cranky. It’s much better. Thank you!

    1. Haha! I worked out a deal with my S.D. pal not to share her exact location and in return I get to plaster the painting all over and brag about it. She might really live in Iowa or Delaware. I’ll never tell.

    1. My husband is like that with landscapes. We have all of the photographs he took when he was traveling the world. 90% of them have no people in them. Just trees and mountains and sky. I don’t know how he tells them all apart sometimes! I guess we all like what we like. I would like to get better at paintings buildings. It’s kind of fun!

  3. She’s mighty-mighty! It’s lovely, Lil! Congratulations! It’s so nice to be creative and be able to share it visually. I love the warm tones of the bricks with the snappy, fun and vibrant flowers. Very nice.

    1. It’s pretty much what was in the photograph she sent me. She has a green thumb and a perfect lawn. I am so envious! Thank you! 🙂

  4. That looks an awful lot like a flowery gingerbread house. And that house is DEFINITELY a girl.

    Also…has the nice lady from South Dakota seen this painting yet? Because it’s beautiful.

  5. Oh gosh, I LOVE this painting! The house looks like a fairytale come to life. I want to invite myself in an settle down with some spiked hot chocolate! 😉

  6. This house portrait is truly amazing! I love it! The bricks really are amazing and give it personality! I get that feeling with work all the time that I am not going to be able to deliver but nearly always I am able, hmm!

    1. We have too much self-doubt, don’t we? I almost always pull it off too, but I still think I am going to fail every single time! It’s irrational. Maybe it’s part of what makes us artists.

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