Sometimes a painting holds far more than just the image, and connections that hold many people together, as these deserted cottages did in life, on paper, and inspiration. In October 2011 I posted the original of this painting of deserted cottages along Lake Erie, and told of memories of my mother, selling her house, and finding a “cardboard painting” from my childhood that had clearly been an influence on my style that showed in this painting. A childhood friend I hadn’t seen in decades saw the painting and contacted me because her family spent summers in that very spot.
A connection with old friend
A friend I hadn’t seen since middle school read the story, knew the place where the cottages had been and contacted me. We met and reunited our friendship after 35 years, and she bought the painting because she and her family had spent summers at that place while she was growing up. She had so many precious memories from all those years and the painting brought it all back to her. It also made a nice new bond between us and we regularly communicated after that, hoping to meet for a little vacation at a spot near this place she now visited over summers with her family, but also sharing our love of cats and crochet.
Unfortunately, she died unexpectedly three years later. I’ve been remembering her since and wondering how she could slip away so soon and unexpectedly when we still had so much to catch up on and find anew, and it always brings me back to this painting. I’m so glad she had it with her for her last three years. She had a part of me with this painting, and I had a part of her with the memory each time I saw it in my portfolio, or as one of the prints I have on hand. I didn’t make it up to Lake Erie to spend time with her, but on my visits to Lake Erie since then she’s been with me. I also remember her close and loving relationship with her mother, and I’m happy her mother has that painting now.
“Cardboard paintings”, and selling my mother’s house
This is the original story I published in 2011, full of emotional connections as well. My mother had died earlier that year, and after years as her legal guardian I was also renewing my bond with my art which I had let fall aside while I cared for her in her increasing illness over a decade.
Anything can become a learning opportunity and an inspiration, even a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame. It worked for me.
I painted “Deserted Cottages” en plein air at a deserted campground in North East along Lake Erie. It was just a quick thing at the end of the day because the sun was going down and the light was changing fast, but I’d been painting all day and I was well warmed up. I easily blocked in the buildings with just a few simple shapes and colors and their traceries of shadows, then the trees and grass, trying to catch the fluttering effect of the leaves in the wind allowing chunks of sky to show through, the tree trunks simplified and in high light-dark contrast, the blank expression of the boarded windows. I was pleased with the outcome, yet something was strangely familiar.
Six years later I put my mother’s house up for sale as she had moved to personal care, and took down her collection of cardboard art in plastic frames that I’d studied in depth growing up. It may not have been expensive, but there was a lot of it, in every room, including the basement. I particularly remembered the one long narrow painting with the signature J.E. Warfield because I liked the way the trees were leafy, not solid, and opened to the sky, the shadows traced across the ground and the buildings were very simple; after studying it as a child I felt that I could do that, a precursor to my love for Impressionist paintings. Again, something was familiar.
I looked at “Deserted Cottages”, and looked at my cardboard Warfield. The tree trunks, the leaves, the simple buildings, the shadows—there it was! I could clearly see what I’d been aiming for as I’d painted standing there in the October light by the lake—this painting I’d been studying practically all my life. So it was a cheap cardboard painting stapled into a rickety wood frame—never underestimate the power of any image to inspire and teach! And I haven’t found out a darned thing about J.E. Warfield, but apparently this painting was a popular one judging by all the ones I see being sold as “vintage”. Perhaps it’s also inspired many others out there.
Purchase a print of “Deserted Cottages”
The original pastel painting of deserted cottages on a Lake Erie beach in Northeast, PA was 17″ x 8.5″ on Rembrandt pastels on Hahnemuhle sanded watercolor paper. Visit the product post to purchase a print.
Shipping within the US is included in all the prices listed. All shipping is via Priority Mail. Prints are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Canvases are shipped in a box to fit with padding. Since this original is small it is also shipped in a box with extra padding.
The framed original is sold.
SIGNED GICLEE PRINTS
The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.
I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.
SIGNED DIGITAL PRINTS
Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original.
SIGNED CANVAS PRINTS
Like giclee prints, I don’t keep canvas prints on hand; at one time they were very popular but not so much lately. No matter how I store or display them in my home gallery or in exhibits or vendor shows, they are easily damaged. I order them as customers order them, and work with two providers, depending on the size of the print, who turn them around quickly.
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