Watercolor Painting of Bidwell Mansion in Chico, CaliforniaI just recently finished this watercolor painting of the Bidwell Mansion in my hometown of Chico, California….I chose to paint it in backlight–in other words with the sun behind the building, shining through the cupola at the third story….a challenge, but glad I did it….there’s a certain abstraction that happens under these lighting conditions….which allows the artist to emphasize certain elements and characteristics of the structure, while ignoring others–not something the artist can do with most commissioned renderings because the architect or builder usually wants you (the artist) to show all the details possible….But in this case, it’s strictly my painting–so I can do what I want….liberating !  More on the building from website of Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park:  “Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is a beautiful, three-story, 26 room Victorian House Museum that stands as a memorial to John and Annie Bidwell. John Bidwell was known throughout California and across the nation as an important pioneer, farmer, soldier, statesman, politician and philanthropist. Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell, the daughter of a socially prominent, high ranking Washington official, was deeply religious, and committed to a number of moral and social causes. The Bidwell’s were married April 16, 1868 in Washington, D.C. with then President Andrew Johnson and future President Ulysses S. Grant among the guests. Upon arrival in Chico, the Bidwell’s used the Mansion extensively for entertainment of friends. Some of the guests that visited Bidwell Mansion were President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William T. Sherman, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, Governor Stanford, John Muir, and Asa Gray.  When constructed, Bidwell Mansion featured the most modern plumbing, gas lighting and water systems. The overall style of the three-story brick structure is that of an Italian Villa, an informal, warmly romantic style. The building’s exterior is finished with a pink tinted plaster.”  Hmmm….Pink tinted plaster–another reason I chose to treat the building with backlighting…..  This illustration is hand-drawn and painted in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustration.  Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in the San Francisco area, including San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley,  Atherton, & Los Altos Hills as well as his hometown of Chico, California.