House Portrait By Ellen

  • 2126 Cedar
  • 3450 Falcon
  • 3730 Gundry
  • 3730 Gundry
  • 3444 Lemon
  • l719 Marshal
  • McCloud Motel
  • 3548 Orange
  • 3548 Orange
  • 3548 Orange


Please enjoy looking at these samples. Please leave them where they are. Out of courtesy to my clients, do not borrow the samples.

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What exactly is a House Portrait By Ellen?

This is a fair question- really! What I make is a digital painting of the home that includes a decorative treatment of the address. This digital painting does look a lot like a "real" painting, a water color with ink lines, because essentially that's what it is! The artwork is completely drawn and painted from a blank sheet on the computer instead of a piece of paper. There is no filter, effect, or magic button- it's all drawn and painted by me.

So, how does it work?
  • First, we talk. I want to understand what makes this house unique. That's the essence of the portrait, not just how the house looks, but why it's special. Tell me if there is a certain item that MUST be part of the portrait. For instance, I have included dogs, cats, birds, special door knobs, stained glass windows, fountains, state flowers, ceramic roosters, and more. I love these requests. They make the portrait truly your own. Also, please let me know if there are any specific needs such as size, deadline, or secrecy (if the portrait will be a surprise for someone).
  • Photos- If the house is in the Southern California region, I will come to the house to take my own photos. If the house is outside the area, I'll need you to supply good, high resolution photos.
  • Price quote- Once I have the photos and your needs in hand, I'll give you a price quote.
    • The price is the cost to create the digital artwork. Printing and shipping are additional.
    • The quote is good for 30 days.
  • Deposit- If you are a first time client, I request a 50% deposit of the price to do the digital artwork. Payment may be cash or check.
  • I go off and paint, that is after I compose, draw, shift everything around and around again, and try out all manner of options searching for the right results.
  • First look- When the portrait looks about right to me, I'll send you a small digital file of the artwork for your approval or suggestions.
  • It's done!- When you are happy with the work, we can talk about prints and delivery.
  • Final payment, printing and delivery- I'll make the prints you need. If you live in town, come by, pick them up, and pay the balance due. If you are out of area, then mail me a check for the balance due, and I'll ship you the prints. I use the U. S. Postal Service to ship.
What do you get?
  • My complete attention and your satisfaction- the work isn't done until you are happy with it.
  • Prints- The artwork can be printed any size you like.
  • There is no mandatory "package" of prints; you only pay for the prints you need.
    • Common print sizes are 8"x10" ($15), 12"x16" ($20), and fold-over note cards with envelopes ($2.50 each). Larger prints are available. The most common oversized print is 18"x24" which costs $80.
    • Custom sizes- Sometimes people want prints to fit a frame they already have- great idea! Some folks have a gallery of pictures and want the portrait to fit in the group- another good idea!
    • Other prints- Since the artwork is created digitally, we can be completely flexible about printing, and other options are easy to manage. The prints can be any size and any quantity. The artwork may be used for thank you and holiday cards, invitations, change of address notices, and more. Elements of the portrait can be removed for some prints and included in others. The work is easily customizable to meet your needs.
    • Reprints are available any time you need them.
  • Digital files- If you need a high resolution digital file, this can be provided. The cost depends on how you are using the file.
  • Professionals- If you are a Realtor, and some of my FAVORITE clients are, please contact me for specific options available to you and your business. I also enjoy working with contractors, designers, and city agencies to help visualize projects for their clients and partners.
  • "Real" paintings- If you would like a painting instead of or in addition to prints, I would be happy to do this for you. The process is still the same- I'll create a digital portrait from the photo reference, get your approval on it, and then will create the painting in acrylics on board. The final painting will be very close to the digital version (no surprises).
How long does it take?
  • If you have a deadline, please tell me, and I'll either make that date, or before we begin, I will tell you the earliest date that I can meet. Usually, from the time I have the photographs in hand, it is at least one week until the finished art is ready to print.
  • Printing is fast, but usually needs to be done on weekdays (only oversized prints, bigger than 12"x16" can get printed on the weekends).
  • "Real" paintings usually take as long to make as the digital artwork- allow a week at least.
  • Time for shipping, if needed.
How much does it cost?
  • It all depends on how complex the portrait will be. Large houses with lots of elements- windows, doors, and complex landscaping take longer to do. Sometimes we agree that a second view of the property should be included. The price will accordingly reflect any extra effort that is needed to complete the artwork.
  • When I give a price quote, I stick to it, unless there is a mutually agreed upon change in scope
  • The average house portrait costs about $350 to create the artwork.
  • Prints are an additional cost. There is sales tax on the prints, but not on the fee to create the artwork.
  • The cost to do a "real" painting is usually equal to the price of creating the digital art. So, if the price for the digital art is $400, the "real" painting will be another $400, bringing your total to $800. There is also sales tax on the "real" painting.
  • Shipping is extra (minimal fee).

About The Business

I started House Portraits By Ellen in 2005 after working many years in the entertainment and video games industries. The idea grew out of a desire to work from home with individual clients, a great affection for architecture and perhaps most, from the joy of owning and decorating my own home.

Market research for the business was rather informal. I looked around and didn't see anyone else creating the kind of portraits I had in mind, so I hoped that there was room for something new. There was and I am grateful to all the kind, creative, loyal and fun clients who've made this business successful. I've created portraits of homes, churches, offices, public buildings, parks, landmarks, projected constructions, shopping centers and redevelopment projects. While my work is done primarily on homes in the Southern California region, I have enjoyed creating portraits of homes across the United States, as well as in Europe and South America.

My goal is to make a beautiful, specific portrait of each home. My business creed is that the portrait is done when my client is happy.

Contact Me

I welcome your inquiries. Please keep in mind that I live in the Pacific Time Zone - emails at any hour are great.

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