I had intended to show this house with artwork on the walls, but as a buyer I would far prefer flawless wall surfaces to beautiful staging. Today a truckload of our stuff is heading to Maine. Much of this is painting inventory.
The contents of this house have diminished and concentrated as we’ve finished room after room. There are our necessary clothes and a few pieces of case furniture too large for me to move alone. There is the piano. There are some dishes, pots and pans, and—most importantly—our tools, which will be the last things boxed.
There have been a few paintings I’ve resisted packing, and they’re hanging in the last room awaiting painting. This morning I looked them over, thinking that they should go on this truck. I realized I’ve subconsciously edited them into a short narrative of my life.
The Bridle Path is a small track that runs north from the Erie Canal towpath in Gasport, NY. It ran through scrub fields when I was a youth; it’s young woodland now. It evokes memories of riding my horse on fine summer days, and memories of our family farm, now long gone.
In high school, I took the South Park bus from my grandmother’s house to downtown, where I transferred. Buffalo’s grain elevators run along the waterfront in this area. They are a hulking effigy of the past dominating Buffalo’s future.
One summer I bought a season’s pass and determined to spend all my spare time at Letchworth State Park, painting the waterfalls of the upper Genesee River. The two paintings here took me a whole summer to complete. As I struggled, I wondered if I’d just forgotten how to paint. Since then, whenever I hit these periods, I try to be patient and allow whatever is festering to come out in its own time.
It’s easy to retreat back to what one knows; it’s dangerous to go forward. But that summer was made palatable by the company of my old pals Marilyn Feinberg and Gail Kellogg Hope. I may not have been prolific, but I like these two paintings very much.