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Remember when I said I don’t paint anything fast? …and that it takes me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to finish something. This is a painting painted in one evening.  I have a soft spot for yellow houses. This house sits on a hill on the edge of a small man-made lake called Trader’s Point Lake north of Indianapolis. I took the photo reference sitting in my sister’s paddle boat right before that awful dry heat spell began. There are a few things I need to watch for when I paint quickly. In this painting, the lean of the house?  🙂  and that real hard edge to the right and on top of the foreground hedge (wish I had softened that).  I also think I could have had a little more fun with the house without harming the value pattern I had decided upon. My favorite thing about this painting is that Huge oak behind the Huge house and how they seem to be trying to outdo one another.  My goal with this painting, other than completing something in one evening, was to work on the value patterns to promote depth.  I used greens, violet, yellows, burnt sienna, halloween orange cerulean blue and a few dabs of prussian blue to paint this piece.

I live in a yellow house, just not this one.  🙂





  1. I’ve always loved a yellow house with a white wrap-around porch out in the country. I still love how your paintings are so clean, whether you do them in a hurry or slow, they’re always so clean looking. I know this seems odd but my favorite part, is the light reflection on the roof of the far left portion of the house, it just pops out for me.

    • Thank you, Ryan. I saw that light reflection and forgot to mention it in the post. It was one of those murky gray days and the light actually just hit a little on things. It hit there, though. Thank you for that comment about clean. I certainly don’t know how I do that as I really push the color. Don Andrews taught us how to come clean with a muddy wash during a workshop I took last summer and I use it a lot. If the muddy wash is still wet, you can go back in with a second wash of the temperature of color that you used last that caused it to be muddy. An example would be: if red made it muddy, you could wash in another red, the same red, yellow, or orange. If you added green or blue it would furthur muddy it. So far that has worked for me. If the wash was a cool color such as green or blue, just add another cool color while the wash is wet. Thanks a bunch!

      • Thanks so much for this tip, Leslie! It looks like how most houses look like – nestled among the greeneries.

      • Hi Raji! I, too, like a house hugged by foliage. Thank you. 🙂

  2. I love old trees, Leslie, and you’ve captured the feeling of towering giants to perfection. I know you say here and there are bits and pieces you would have done differently. but I get the same feeling when I do a poem, after posting it, I always get an urge to rearrange this and that, to change a word here and there, so that this line will maybe flow better. and that feeling will come through easier. 😉 I guess we’re never satisfied with our end products. My eyes see a brilliantly coloured large house, set in a marvelous glade of green, (like a strategically placed yellow diamond in it’s perfect setting) and it’s somewhere I would love to visit. many thanks for sharing and letting us see it through your eyes. xPenx

    • You really know how to lift a person up, Pen. Thank you for that….. I need to work on painting loosely and a little more effortlessly. A painting like a haiku, perhaps? …or maybe a short story? We talked about how we are our own worst critic in class tonight. Thank you for seeing a diamond. 🙂

  3. This is so beautiful, Leslie! I also am drawn to yellow houses, although I live in a pink one. he he I love all the wonderful eaves and architectural details of this house. I imagine the inside to be warm and homey, like a country house. It’s wonderful to be able to try to be inside the house while admiring the outside. Does that make sense?

    I hope that whatever is keeping you away from painting has been enjoyable.

    • Oh! I know just what you mean. I love to imagine what the inside rooms of these gentle giants are like. …especially one nestled in nature like this one is. Thank you, Beth!

  4. I very much like your loosely rendered painting of this yellow house and the foliage around it. I live in a brownstone/brick house. So I guess it’s essentially brown and red. Hmmmm.

    I hear yellow houses have great “curb appeal”.

    • I don’t know about curb appeal, but if they are clean and the surroundings, outdoors, are not cluttered with junk, I think they shine quite brightly and second only to a white house with dark trim, for sure. Thank you, Carol!

  5. Yellow houses are very cheery aren’t they? Well from this non-painter’s perspective, this looks superb to me. I like the idea of the house and tree competing with each other.

    • Thank you! Perhaps I need to sit down and get that oak on paper all by itself. It was humongous!!!!!

  6. There’s something charming about the angle the house takes, giving the painting liveliness and energy that the wavy hedges, even with that hard edge, mimic. In my mind, yellow houses are cheerful and welcoming…so is your painting!


    • Well thank you for that angle comment. We have an artist, here in town, who gives bend to the homes she paints but hers don’t look like mistakes at all. She gives them a life of their own. I just hope that side of my house doesn’t slide down the hill, Nanina. 🙂 Maybe that is where the family is gathered and it is reflecting the weight of them. Ha!

  7. Wonderful. I especially love the vibrant way you’ve painted nature. It’s like it’s just been refreshed by a nice shower. Looks good with the yellow house.

    • I think it had rained the day before I came down. However, the great heat spell began right after my visit and parched everything. This scene probably would have become very earthy and sultry within a week. Thank you for your visit and comment, Hannekekoop!

  8. A lovely view you have caught. as if this beautiful house is part of nature! It is not only an exercise for values and colors, also for precision, neat and vibrant. wow!

    • I think you nailed what I was trying to portray, Padmaja. This house just looked like it fit right here on this spot and became a part of all that surrounded it. Thank you!

  9. Halloween Orange, I like the sound of that one as Halloween is coming soon
    and you know what that means Leslie? 🙂 it will be absolute wickedness and so
    ghoulishly exciting too 🙂

    Of course not quite as wicked as your evening
    masterpiece but very close I should think? 🙂 😉

    I like your style my wickedly fine great friend…

    Androgoth XXx

    • I, actually, have been using more and more of this Halloween orange color. It enhances and backs up other colors, sometimes softening them and sometimes creating beautiful grays when it comes in contact with the blues and blue-greens. Thank you, Andro! Oh, keep drawing!

        • Androgoth
        • Posted September 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm
        • Permalink

        Leslie I do thank you for commenting on my, shall we say my very mediocre drawings and also for giving me some encouragement towards the possibilities of further attempts, of course I have no idea when that will be as I am really poor on the sketching abilities, and I much prefer my writing as I can whip up a Script in no time at all, whereas my doodling is rather hopeless, but after saying that my ten minute Llama and the Werewolf drawing was a lot of fun 🙂 Thank you again for seeking those out my wickedly fine friend 🙂

        Androgoth XXx

  10. The easy flow, the uncensored curve to the house, the fabulous and Huge tree in the background – the rambling house that inspired an easy-going portrait of itself. The whole thing tells of a relaxed artist just enjoying getting the record on paper. My current kitchen is that yellow and so was the kitchen I was raised in. One would think I might spend more time there! 😀 BTW – Amazing that you can capture so much detail in such a short time.

    • Yep. I just enjoyed an evening painting, Amy. My time is so taken up, right now, I have to find a way to express myself in moments of time as they present themselves. Thank you for the encouragement in your last sentence! It fuels me! 🙂

  11. Oh !! I live in a yellow house !!! But not as beautiful a as this one ! And this one is near water ??? Can I move in ! I love how you captured that feeling of “tucked in the trees”. Yes, that oak tree is grandiose !
    Your painting is very luminous and I love that sense of “getting a peek at it” !

    • Of course you would move into this one. It is surrounded by nature on all sides! However, warning! There are no mountain vistas to explore and no ocean nearby. I know you to love your home area. 🙂 Thank you, Isabelle!

  12. I honestly think this piece looks digital, almost “photoshop-ed”…I love the crooked house and the soft and hard edges looks as if it were being altered for a banner, or picture for a website. I personally like it a lot. It looks like you did it, but a different you…

    I finish paintings all the time in one night and I feel like a superhero. I always laugh at myself because sometimes I am so hard on myself for not finishing BIG projects but I can spit out little stuff here and there with no problems. I think we are too hard on ourselves sometimes. Being determined is important but sometimes we deserve a break as artists. lol

    • I don’t know that I feel like a superhero, but this may be something to work on, this painting simply and quickly. I agree that we are our own worst critics, Roni. I remind my students about that all the time. Now, why am I doing it? Ha! 🙂 Thankyou!

  13. Leslie, I think you’re too critical of your paintings. If I pointed out faults in my poetry or stories I wouldn’t have time to write. All my time would be taken up explaining the problems. Instead I write on, seemingly oblivious to my errors. Back to your delightful painting. The greenery surrounds the house, and it snuggles in. The softness of the hedges and the large oak that hugs the house bring my attention to the focal point, the yellow house. What you think are flaws are merely memorable nuances, feathers in your cap.
    Paint on and look wise,
    your paintings are great,
    don’t apologize.

    • After this comment, I will never excuse my work again, Dan. I love that “feathers in my cap” idea and it gives me a great visual image of the somewhat mad artist trying to record all that he/she sees. Thank you so much my writer friend! 🙂

  14. Well for a single evenings work I’d have to say it looks pretty darn impressive… I might have been able to paint the chimney (the one that you can’t see) in one evening, but definitely not the whole thing… I’d take the real house too btw… 😉

    • I need to stop criticizing my work. I will watch that from now on. Thank you, Brian! I would not mind living here, for sure! I’d need to hire help to clean it though! 🙂

  15. There is something comforting about seeing a bright yellow house surrounded by big trees. You’ve captured the charm of the house and its lush landscape very nicely — especially in such a short time. Makes me wish that was my yellow house… even if it leans a little. 😉

    • Yep, Emily, we could hire someone to do whatever they do to prop that house back up so it doesn’t lean, right? 🙂 Thank you!

  16. Lovely as usual, Leslie. I wonder if your speckling technique could soften a few of the edges you weren’t happy with?

    • Excellent idea, Ruth! You are right on that one. Splattering does soften edges. Thank you!

  17. Well, for something you completed in an evening – wow! It’s better than something I could work on in watercolour in a month! I love the perspective and it is a beautiful house.

    • Thank you, Nicola. I need to remember, as I try new things, to not judge my attempts, I think. There are some people who would love to be able to paint a painting in an evening. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that.

  18. The setting for this house reminds me much of my own home…..I think I may be getting home sick after 5 + months away. I’ve been studying it for the last 5 minutes or so; it is just gorgeous, Leslie and I love it. Home is less than 7 weeks away.

    • You live in a yellow house, too, Debbie? I know how much you like your summers. I can not recall you ever mentioning missing your winter home. How nice to have a change of scenery each year, though. Thank you!

      • My home is brick with cedar siding, but we do have home in the neighborhood of that color. I meant the tree and foliage is what reminded me of home.
        I love it here when I’m at the beach, but if we have too many days in just the camper, I get a little home sick…I think maybe for elbow room. lol

  19. i know this is the YELLOW house but I love all the green! the tree to the right, or maybe it’s in the foreground, is the one that really grabs me. beautiful…

    • That tree you like is a huge old cottonwood. There are many, here, and though the tree expert told me they are junk trees, I find them spectacular. They grow to towering heights and, oftentimes, have an interesting network of branches. I know you have cottonwoods where you are, too. Thank you, JRuth!

  20. Wow, Leslie – I envy anyone who can sit down and whip out a landscape. I find landscapes bewildering – I literally can’t see the forest for the trees! You did a wonderful job capturing the sunbathed house and the cool shadows in the foliage.

    • I have been spending more and more time with them, Anne. So many of my students would rather paint landscapes than anything else. I feel like you, though, when I am sitting in front of a still life. Thank you!

  21. What is it about yellow house with white trim that makes them to inviting and happy? It is a beautiful study, Leslie! I love the multitude of greens and how the roof took a tinge of green to it and became a part of a whole.

    • I don’t know, other than yellow is so cheery. To me, it is a “wake-up” color. You are good with color, Alex. I try to take the colors I am using and put them into other colors to balance them. Thank you for noticing that in the roof, Alex.

  22. Your house is wonderfully rendered – I love the railing.
    And the garden is so lush.
    I think all of this scrunching paper and gooiing on colour has got something going in you.
    That is a lot of colour to put down in one evening.

    • I may have to watch that “amount of color”. I think I get going and get lost when I am trying to hurry. Thank you for this comment, Stephen!

  23. Love it Les! of course I am a proud owner of another yellow house painting by you 🙂
    I know this house and you captured the perch it commands as well as the lush vegetation. The purple compliments the yellow so beautifully.
    Great job!

    • Ha! You know the house? You must have paddled the same route with Kim! 🙂 Thanks for pointing out the purple, Nancy. That is exactly why I used it. …and, yes, you do have that yellow house I did years ago from downtown Fort Wayne. Now I remember. Thank you for the visit and the comment, sis!

  24. Yellow houses RULE. My ol’ house was yellow and I miss it. The place I live in now is battleship grey. It’s just not the same. This here is a lovely yellow house 🙂

  25. You have caught.a beautiful view.Love the color and really love the depth!

  26. One night? You did this in one night!!! It’s beautiful.

  27. This is beautiful Leslie, simple with clean colours. Lovely light. I try to capture the same simplicity but it’s difficult.

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