Category

Architecture

Entrance to St Thomas Aquinas Mission is an architecture watercolor, pen and ink painting of the entrance to St Thomas Aquinas Mission in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Art by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich.

Architecture Details

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

Sometimes, before you even realize it, you have a new series of work.

Yesterday, while I was working on a painting, it dawned on me that the last several pieces I’ve completed share a common theme – they  are close up architecture works of windows, doors, and other details. It’s been a fun diversion from the more complete architecture buildings and I am looking forward to working in more of these.

So I’m capping of January with  the 6th of this new series – Entrance to St Thomas Aquinas Mission of the colorful entrance to the historic church (1919 according to the sign on the front) located across from the WigWam in Litchfield Park, Arizona.

Watercolor, pen and ink painting of the entrance to St Thomas Aquinas Mission in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Art by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich.

Entrance to St Thomas Aquinas Mission
Watercolor, pen and ink
9″x12″

Time to reorganize the website!

 


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Above the Entrance to St Mary's is an architecture watercolor, pen and ink painting of the bright blue sky and top of Phoenix's St Mary's Basilica by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

January 2017 State of Affairs

By Architecture, Events, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

We’re 3 weeks in to 2017 and the year has started off with a bang! Since finishing the 12 days of Christmas series on January 5, I’ve kept up a constant stream of doodles, finished works, experiments and brainstorming.

I’ve also been fortunate to have been selected for two art shows around the valley – if you have a chance, please come out to see them! I’m happy to say that I have 2 artworks (below) in the Glendale  Arts Council Annual Juried Show which opened on January 8 and will continue through January 29.  You can find out more about that show here.

Watercolor, pen and ink of St Paul's Cathedral in London by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

St Paul’s Cathedral

Watercolor, pen and ink painting of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Chapel of the Holy Cross

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also selected as one of 62 artists for the Tiny Art show  at the Herberger Gallery@Arizona Center. What a fun, rainy night to meet new artists and enjoy art together! It opened on Friday, January 20 and continues through March 9. You can read about the Herberger show by clicking here. 

Finally, I’ve completed a few small, close-up works (6″x9″), a medium size artwork (9″x12″ – more about that one later) and started a large piece. Below is a peak at the latest 5.

Now I need a nap.

Architecture watercolor, pen and ink painting of a capital from a column outside of a subway stations in NYC. Art by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich.

Capital
Watercolor, pen and ink
8.5″x5.5″

Architecture watercolor, pen and ink painting artwork of a window portion of the Metropolitan Cathedral of São Paulo, Brazil. Art by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich.

A Window from the Metropolitan Cathedral
Watercolor, pen and ink
8.5″x5.5″

Architecture watercolor, pen and ink of the bright blue sky and top of Phoenix's St Mary's Basilica by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Above the Entrance to St Mary’s
Watercolor, pen and ink
5.5″x8.5″

Architecture watercolor, pen and ink artwork of a window at Phoenix's Orpheum Theater by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Orpheum Window
Watercolor, pen and ink
8.5″x5.5″

Architecture watercolor, pen and ink of a window at the Historic First Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Art by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich.

First Presbyterian Window
Watercolor, pen and ink
8″x11″

Artworks are available for purchase – if interested, please contact me for more information.


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Custom home portrait in watercolor, pen and ink of a home in Goodyear, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

The Richard’s Home Commission

By Architecture, Custom, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

A Custom Home Portrait in the Southwest Suburbs of Phoenix

Custom home portrait in watercolor, pen and ink of a home in Goodyear, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Richards Custom Home Portrait
Watercolor, pen and ink
9″x12″

In December, I had the pleasure of creating a custom home portrait of a home in the southwest suburbs of Phoenix as a surprise Christmas gift for the client’s wife. The customer requested that this particular artwork be created in watercolor, pen and ink.

You might feel a bit overwhelmed or uncertain about what might be involved to having a custom artwork created.  There’s absolutely nothing to be concerned with because it is of the utmost importance to me that you are pleased with the results. Here’s a sneak peak into my creative process:

  1. First, I take photos of the home at several different angles or else you can provide several options. If you provide the photos, they must either be your own or have permission from the photographer to use.
  2. We work together to select the best photo to use as reference.
  3. Next, I’m ready to begin the pencil drawing of the home. I typically choose a stiff bristol paper for pen and ink portraits, or a heavy weight hot-press watercolor paper for watercolor portraits.
  4. I draw in various thicknesses of pen and ink over top of the pencil drawings. I select the pen weights based on my interpretations of line and shading.
  5. Optionally, I then paint over the inked drawing in watercolor.

Then I sign my name and Voila! Finished!

Each original artwork is packaged in a Clear Bag along with a hard backing to prevent bending, and included is a signed Certificate of Authenticity.  The client is kept involved throughout the process, including their approval of the selected reference photo, an update once the pen and ink is completed and, when applicable, previewing the watercolor prior to artwork delivery.

Contact me if you are interested in finding out more about having your own unique, custom home portrait created.

St Mary's Tower is a watercolor, pen and ink architecture painting of St Mary's Basilica's tower in Phoenix Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

St Mary’s Tower

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

Here’s the latest from my adventures architecture-spotting in downtown Phoenix:

St Mary's Tower is a watercolor, pen and ink painting of St Mary's Basilica's tower in Phoenix Arizona. Artwork by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

St Mary’s Tower
Watercolor, pen and ink
8.5″x5.5″

St Mary’s Basilica is located in downtown Phoenix on Monroe and 3rd Street. It’s formal name is The Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church has a rich history, dating back to 1880 where it began as an adobe building with a steeple pitched, shingled roof. The church, as it’s recognized today, was built starting with a basement church in 1903 and then the Mission Revival style it’s recognized by now was built in 1913. It is the oldest Catholic church in Phoenix and second oldest church overall, with First Presbyterian Church being the oldest. (See more at http://saintmarysbasilica.org/basilica-history/).

This relatively small work has just the right amount of detail and color.  I love the way the shadows are cast on this tower of St Mary’s Basilica, where the nearly white building is offset by our bright blue Arizona skies.


Originals and prints from the Architecture Series can be purchased at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EBeLerFineArt.  Don’t see something you’d like? Send me a message. It just might be available!

Custom architecture artworks make thoughtful and beautiful gifts. Give your wife the gift of a painting of the church you were married in. Have a home portrait in pen and ink completed as a house warming gift. Spoil yourself with an artwork from your favorite vacation spot! Contact me for details. 

Dome of the Diocese of Phoenix is a watercolor, pen and ink painting of the copper dome of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich.

Dome of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Watercolor
Watercolor, pen and ink painting of the copper dome of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich. Originals and prints available for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EBeLerFineArt.

Dome of the Diocese of Phoenix
Watercolor, pen and ink
9″x12″

Have I mentioned before that my photography are severely lacking?

Have I mentioned before that my photography skills are mediocre at best?

Heading east on Monroe Street in downtown Phoenix, I had just walked past St Mary’s Roman Catholic Basilica [yup, that’s on my list] when I spotted a copper dome peaking out over a wall. I must have walked every street at and around the dome trying to spot where the entrance was, what the rest of the building looked like, and of course taking a pic along the way. Finally I found the entrance to the Diocese of Phoenix through the park by the Basilica but the entrance didn’t hold quite the same impact as spotting that copper dome.

I sat on this photo for a bit, considering how to best portray that simple but striking image. I love white space so I brainstormed and played a little bit to decide how I might make it work.

First, I drew out the image, as usual. My instincts told me this was going to go in one direction (success) or another (failure). [True story: Not everything an artist envisions comes out as hoped.] Next I thought up ideas on how to make an impact with color while taking advantage of the white space. I chose to “sketch it out” in watercolor first as a trial run. Doing a rough watercolor sketch is different for me because I’m ridiculously impatient and typically just dive right in.

dome1  dome2

Focusing primarily on the dome allowed me to see the purples and blues captured in the copper reflections, challenged me to work loosely on the wall and enjoy the beautiful simplicity of the structure.

Enjoy!


Originals and prints from the architecture series are for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/EBeLerFineArt. If there’s something you’re interested in but don’t see at the shop, please contact me for more information.

Custom Artwork

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

****SPOILER ALERT****

For those of you on my Christmas card list, avert your eyes!

Artwork for 2016 Personal Christmas Card

One thing I love, and maybe agonize over just a little bit, is our yearly Christmas card. Every year for nearly the last 2 decades I’ve created my own Christmas card designs, and this year is no exception. The last two years I was able to take an existing artwork and repurpose it but since we moved into a brand new home this past Spring it seems like a perfect time to remind our family and friends of our new address and they can get a peek at our new home while we’re at it. This is where a passion for architecture drawing comes in handy!

Our home is a new build, designed in the Spanish Colonial style. I know this only because we had a visit with a talented and knowledgeable landscape architect  who shared a little bit of Spanish Colonial history and I decided to do a little research. According to http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/275035/list/9-architectural-elements-of-spanish-revival-style:

This type of architecture was born as a result of the Panama-California Exposition, and became a U.S. style movement from 1915 to 1931. It is a hybrid style based on the architecture found during the early Spanish colonization of North and South Americas. It started in California and Florida, which had the ideal climate for Mediterranean-inspired homes, and remains popular today.  

Here’s what I know . . . we love it!  My husband and I have a minimalist transitional style – I like to say we are somewhere between Crate and Barrel and CB2 – and with a personal history that begins with a first date in Venice, Italy (a fairy tale story you should ask me about sometime) and our honeymoon in Greece, this Mediterranean style really resonates with us.

There really is no place like home!

 


 

Are you looking for the perfect, unique house-warming gift? Or are you a realtor looking for the perfect gift idea? Whether buying a new home, moving from a beloved home, or looking for something one-of-a-kind, a custom home portrait is a memorable keepsake – contact me for more information, of check out my etsy listing at https://www.etsy.com/listing/487041421/custom-pen-and-ink-home-portrait.

Are you interested in a custom Christmas card? Rates vary dependent on the amount of artwork – here are a few examples of past Christmas Card designs:

2011personalcard
2012christmascard 2013christmas2 2014_christmas-copy 2009christmaschristmas2015card beler_strasbourgchristmas

 

 

2010christmas2016_belerchristmas

 

Watercolor, pen and ink architecture painting of the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, AZ by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Hotel San Carlos

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Watercolor
Watercolor, pen and ink of the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, AZ by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Hotel San Carlos
Watercolor, pen and ink
16″x11.5″

sancarlos_progressA few weeks ago I headed downtown to deliver an artwork for a show at Phoenix’s Herberger Theater. In spite of my love of big cities and architecture I have admittedly spent very little time in my local downtown (naturally I’m blaming it on the default excuse – 4 kids).

Knowing that I’d be in the heart of downtown Phoenix I brought my camera and spent some time walking around and searching for inspiration. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on incorporating more local architecture in my architecture series so this was a perfect scouting opportunity. Phoenix is a difficult city for this because it is such a young city – our historic buildings are close to 100 years old, rather than, say, historic buildings in London over 1,000 years old. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be spotting any gargoyles, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other gems to find.

The first of these gems I decided to work on is the ruby-canopied historic Hotel San Carlos. I didn’t actually know anything about the hotel except that it had a cool old-fashioned florescent sign that I suspected would look pretty cool at night. Searching on the hotel returned a lot of information about ghost sightings – how appropriate with Halloween around the corner! According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_San_Carlos_(Phoenix)),

On May 7, 1928, The Arizona Republic reported the death of Leone Jensen. The article’s headline read “Pretty blonde jumps from (the) San Carlos (hotel) early today”. Based on what she wrote on her death note, it could be assumed that the 22-year-old woman was physically abused by her boyfriend, a bellboy at the Westward Ho. Speculations have been made as to whether Jensen was pregnant and/or her boyfriend was having an affair with another hotel worker. Because of these theories, the way she died is also debated. While most evidence pointed to suicide, many have said that she could have been pushed off by her boyfriend or her boyfriend’s other girlfriend.

Another ghost frequently mentioned by hotel employees is that of a little girl, possibly around six to nine years old, who is rumored to visit hotel rooms at night and sit crying. Ghost believers think she was probably one of the area children affected either by the school’s closing [previously built on the hotel’s site] or the flu epidemic.

The San Carlos also has had its share of celebrities such as Mae West, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe and Gene Autry. The hotel is the only historic boutique hotel in Phoenix and is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Look at that! An unexpected Phoenix history lesson.

Now, back to the drawing board – time to start on something even closer to home.

Watercolor, pen and ink architecture painting of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Chapel of the Holy Cross

By Architecture, Landscape, Pen and Ink, Realism, Watercolor
Watercolor, pen and ink painting of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Chapel of the Holy Cross
Watercolor, pen and ink
14″x20″

A few weeks back our family made a last minute trip up to Flagstaff, Arizona and took a detour into Sedona on the way up. We had hoped to take the kids hiking in the beautiful, rocky landscape, but the winding roads and increased elevation was too much for some of their sensitive stomachs. Being flexible is key with four kids so we changed our plans and instead we enjoyed getting some fresh air while visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

This piece of architecture is striking in particular because it is built right into the red rocks of Sedona. Most people believe it to have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, or his son, but they actually turned down the project. Instead it was designed by the San Francisco firm of Anshen and Allen. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to come home and paint it and once I started the drawing it was hard to stop! It’s strong geometric lines contrast beautifully with the organic shapes of the surrounding landscape. Below are a few progress shots – enjoy!

Chapel of the Holy Cross, WIP 1 Chapel of the Holy Cross WIP 2 Chapel of the Holy Cross WIP 3

You can find out more about Chapel of the Holy Cross at http://www.gatewaytosedona.com/the-chapel-of-the-holy-cross-sedona-architectural-landmark.

I’ve had a few requests for prints. If interested, please private message me (esther@estherbeler.com). Subscribe to the blog to receive updates delivered directly to your inbox (found in the footer menu). 

Cardinal's Stadium Front is a watercolor, pen and ink architecture painting of the Arizona Cardinal's, University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Cardinal’s Stadium Front

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Realism, Watercolor

In sticking with the plan to incorporate more local architecture into the recent Architecture Series, I completed the Cardinal’s Stadium Front in watercolor, pen and ink. Just in time for football season to begin!

And there was much rejoicing!

I may or may not have attempted snapshots while going up the on-ramp to the freeway. I may or may not have been barricaded from entering the stadium grounds. I may or may not have pulled over on the sides of several busy streets in attempts to catch a decent shot of the front. In the end, I may or may not have compiled ideas from several of these vantage points to get the drawing I wanted.

Who knew that being an artist could be so harrowing?!?!

In the end, I got it done! Now the *ahem* rear end of “University of Phoenix Stadium” has a front to match.  Enjoy!

Watercolor, pen and ink of the Arizona Cardinal's, University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

Cardinal’s Stadium Front
Watercolor, pen and ink
7.5″ x 17.5″

 

Architecture artwork of University of Phoenix, Arizona Cardinals Stadium in watercolor, pen and ink by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

University of Phoenix Stadium

By Architecture, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

As 2015 came to an end, I took stock of the numerous artworks I’d created that year and realized my portfolio was greatly lacking work near my home. Having 4 kids makes it impossible  expensive insane challenging to travel, so I resolved to spend more time and effort in finding beautiful and interesting architecture that honors my home state of Arizona. I certainly don’t expect to find any 300 year old cathedrals in our 48th state but the desert architecture carries it’s own unique character that I’m looking forward to capturing.

The first local work this year is a watercolor, pen and ink of the north side of the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona – home to the Arizona Cardinals. I like the north side of the stadium because it reminds me of a coiled up snake, unlike the more commonly seen flat front of the stadium. Bonus, I didn’t have to stop on the freeway to get a decent shot!

University of Phoenix, Arizona Cardinals Stadium in watercolor, pen and ink by artist Esther BeLer Wodrich

University of Phoenix Stadium
Watercolor, pen and ink
7.5″ x 17.5″