The Lady and Her Garden

by Susan Stillman July 26, 2016


The finished painting

This painting shows the rear view of a beautiful Tudor home near the Sound. At our initial meeting, the conversation centered on my client’s passion for her garden, and how glorious the place looked in full bloom.



My first visit to this home was in the winter, when there was no foliage hiding the house itself. The preliminary set of photos revealed it’s structure carved out in light and shadows. I was able to begin the sketch and return in the spring and summer to photograph the garden in it’s various stages.

Some people ask me if I work from a photograph. The misconception is that a painting is simply a copy of a picture. In truth, I take a hundred or more photos from multiple viewpoints, shoot details, visit in different light and different seasons, all in order to piece together the vision that forms when a client and I begin to talk about what they want to capture in their Home Portrait.



On the sketch, we made notes to indicate the important plants to be included; varieties of hydrangea, roses, wisteria, etc.


Hidden features

Removing the blue lawn furniture was a last minute decision, as we found it too distracting. Notice the inability to see the door and the front walk from our viewpoint to the left of the image. I trimmed the foliage and combined images from different positions to be able to include the door and walk, as well as a bit of the driveway and a favorite mailbox. The front door is a focal point in all my paintings, as a universal symbol of welcome.