A room (or ten) with a view.
I was parked on the side of the access road to Scraggy Neck, working at my French easel on a seascape commission.
A large black pickup truck stopped next to me. The driver rolled down his window and asked, “Excuse me, do you paint houses?” I must have looked confused by his question because he added, “like a portrait of a house? not the walls!”
Years ago I painted a lot of house portraits, country inns and bed and breakfasts mostly, so yes, I definitely did, and still do. I answered with a confident, "yes, of course I do!"
I handed him my business card and he gave me his number. We met the next day at his client’s home, still under construction. We agreed to a view, and a price, and the deal was underway.
What comes to me when I look at this painting now isn't so much about the house as it is to me about the setting. Note the very private bridge that leads to this property and only to this property. Nobody comes here by accident. (Painting image at the bottom of this post.)
I have been asked to paint lovely homes in spectacular settings in the past, and I'm always more than a bit surprised when the request is for a painting of the house itself, particularly where there is a multi-million dollar view of the water to be enjoyed from the other side of the property. I remember the first time I was really struck with this was when asked to do a painting to imprint on gift shop items for the Wequassett Inn in Chatham, back during my inn painting days. It's a lovely building - two-story, white washed New England Federal style with perfectly planted and manicured yard and gardens in front. I thought sure, this would be a lovely painting. Until I stepped inside the building and walked through and into the dining room to meet with the manager. The view? Oh my. It is advertised as The Inn on Pleasant Bay. Pleasant Bay should perhaps be re-named Spectacular Bay. The view from the dining room – beyond words breathtaking.
I asked, "Wouldn't your guests want notecards of this view to take home with them?" I was told no, and I executed the painting as requested of the front of the inn. Not too many notecards sold. Not a surprise to me. It was years ago.*
Besides, this is about painting of the home in Cataumet, not the inn. And maybe this says more about me than them (ha ha of course it does.) Give me the choice of a spectacular home with no view or a simple cottage overlooking the bay, and I'm pretty sure you know by now which one I would choose. I am moved more by nature, by God's beautiful creations, then custom built evidence of wealth.
To be fair, the portrait of the house in Cataumet was a thank you gift from the contractor to his client, so it made perfect sense to showcase the home in the painting. I was allowed artistic license to include as much of the setting as I wanted. Still, to this day, nearly 10 years later, I remember being struck more by the view from the kitchen looking out over the water, and from the lawn at the far end of the property overlooking Hospital Cove. Maybe someday I will receive an invitation to paint that, from this artist's perspective.
What is the view from your home? Or as I said in my marketing back in 2014, where is your happy place? I would be delighted to paint it for you.
*Oh, and by the way, my experience at the Wequasset Inn - now named the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club - was 25 years ago. I just took a quick look at their website. Not a single photo of the front of the inn to be found! And a ton of the view. Aha!!!
1996 - The Wequasset Inn, on Pleasant Bay.
2014 - The commission painting of the home in Cataumet.