Crescent Hill



Crescent Hill© 2015 Durga Yael Bernhard

Crescent Hill is the name of Rachel & Joe’s house in Rosendale, NY.  Rachel, an English professor at SUNY New Paltz, commissioned me to paint this portrait as a Christmas gift for her husband.  I was most honored.  This is oil on canvas, 16″ wide.  I worked on the painting in November and December.  The paint was still a little wet when Rachel picked it up – but she loved it.

Like all my house portraits, this one emphasizes the surrounding environment.  There’s a cozy feeling to this house, the way it’s nestled into the hillside.  I had to take some artistic license and thin out some trees in order to keep the house visible.  Rachel wanted the unique curve of her driveway – the shape of a crescent – to be conveyed.  She sent me photos to work from, plus a video of a walk up the driveway in which she pointed out the contours of the property.  I played that video over and over while I worked.

Whenever I illustrate something that could just as easily be photographed, I try to do something a camera can’t do.  In this case, I depicted several times of day at once, mostly at night, when few people would be outside taking photos.  Yet the ever-changing skies of the wee hours, seen through the windows of a house season after season, are intrinsic to the feeling of being at  home.

Rachel also wanted some local wildlife in the painting.  Conveniently, a deer, a hawk, and a black bear (see it under the spruce tree?) all showed up at the same time!  Sometimes, illustrating is just a little bit like playing God.

I enjoyed working on this painting very much.  Apparently Joe was pleased by his surprise gift, too.  All around, Rachel was a pleasure to work with, and it was a refreshing change from my other work.  Thank you, Rachel, for the opportunity!

Interested in commissioning a house portrait?  Please email to inquire.  My prices are moderate.  And as Rachel found out, with the new beveled canvas and “float” canvas, it is no longer necessary to frame a painting on canvas.  Rachel chose the beveled version for Crescent Hill.

Crescent Hill 72dpi 5"

Wishing you a good week –

D Yael Bernhard

Author / Illustrator of
THE HUNGRY HAGGADAH: A Passover Story in Rhyme
THE JEWISH EYE – 2016 /5776 calendar of art
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
GREEN BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN – Nat’l Green Book Festival Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!
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