“Here comes Carol with her camera!” one of my uncles said when I visited the cottage as an adult. (See “The Cottage”). I found endless and evocative images both inside and outside this brown-shingled summer home. The light through the windows and the doorways and on the wide front porch made shadows and patterns both dramatic and restful.
I admit to having cottage envy. I wanted a cottage like the one my cousins had. Our family rented summer homes on Long Island Sound for a few years, but on Sunday afternoons we still seemed to end up on the sea wall in front of the Norton’s cottage. For me there was only ever one “Cottage.”
But to make a painting of something is to make it a little bit my own. I can carry the places and the scenes I paint with me forever because of the process of recreating them on paper or on canvas.
One of the first pieces of art I made about the cottage was a drawing/collage – a pencil drawing of the cottage with a collaged photo of my aunt Ellen as a young woman sitting on a porch with some friends. They all wore upswept hairdos and puffy-sleeved dresses. I wish I had a reproduction of the drawing to include, but I’m away from home as I write this, and can only see the drawing in my mind.
Since I did that drawing in 1975, I’ve used paint to create my tribute to the house overlooking the blue water. I’ve painted it from the inside looking out.
I’ve painted it from the side, looking toward the Marsh.
I’ve painted it from the front.
I’ve painted a picture of the old AGA stove in the kitchen before it was replaced during a kitchen remodel.
But most often I’ve painted the porch. The place where so much family gathering took place looks timeless in the late afternoon and evening light. This painting from 1985 is a favorite of mine, and hangs in our entryway in Alaska.
And here’s one from 2005.
I’m so glad to have done all these paintings – a few of them still keep me company every day. But there’s nothing that beats being on the cottage porch with a gin and tonic and with people I love as the sun sets over the water, and the moon begins its nightly travels.
On Monday: Janet