New Milford artist finds niche creating personalized portraits of homes

NEW MILFORD - Town resident Ann Peng may not have known at first how her artistry would turn into a career, but after moving to the United States, she found a niche.

Her focus is personalized portraits of homes, special occasions such as weddings, anniversary celebrations and vacation mementos. She also paints pets and babies — all from provided photos.

In addition to oil painting, Peng uses several different mediums in her work, including acrylic, water colors and colored pencils.

“When I first began oil painting, I was passionate about painting landscape and portraits since I love the beauty of nature and all the creatures,” said Peng, who studied art at Nan Tong University in China, focusing on oil painting.

“Going to school and working in a fast-paced city in China was stressful; I missed the days of running through the fields in my childhood,” she said. “I was working at an international kindergarten and seeing those pure faces of different races every day. I just loved their cuteness and started to do baby portraits by colored pencils. I took some trips with my husband and painted beautiful sceneries of our memories using oil or water color. The first house portrait I did was our apartment in Norwalk and I used it for my baby's gender reveal,” Peng said.

The couple bought their first home in New Milford last year and had a difficult time with the renovation, finally deciding to move in and learn to finish the project themselves.

“Looking at the pieces coming together like a puzzle, it made our first home here more meaningful,” Peng said. “I was inspired and started to do more house paintings and house portrait on ornaments. I believed it would be a good way to remember all the effort we've paid as everyone has a unique story about their homes.”

She added she used to love to paint outdoors on the spot “as I love the idea of Impressionism, but when the condition is limited, I paint from photos more and more, and it actually became a good way to communicate with people. The small house paintings are personalized, sentimental, good to keep and display for years. Since I've done paintings of buildings in different cities and countries from my own trips, I would love to help people to paint the beautiful sceneries from their trips, too.”

As a member of Etsy, a global online marketplace where unique items are sold and collected, Peng has found some success, especially last December when she featured customized Christmas ornaments. Some of her specialties are earrings, metal bookmarks, bracelets and rings, most of which are intricately embroidered.

When she lived in China, she painted pictures of tea houses and other scenes for her own mementos, and when her whole family traveled to Greece, she painted a series of images for her portfolio. She said she’s grateful that she can work from home and care for her 2-year-old daughter, Lydia, who, according to her mother, already loves drawing and singing. “As long as she enjoys doing it, it doesn’t matter if she will become an artist or not. I just hope she can find her own ‘gift’ and enjoy it,” Peng said.