Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The cottages that inspire me

I am trying to remember when it was, even what year I was inspired by Helen Allingham paintings. I believe it was from a book I found at a bookstore in new hope, pa called, "Flower Gardens of Victorian England," by Clayton-Paine. I had always loved cottages and cottage paintings, pretty houses with thatched roofs, with roses and foxgloves growing up the sides. Could of even been before I discovered the book, that I knew that was what I wanted to paint...This is one I did of Great Dixter:

But way after "The Borrowers" which I loved as a child,  I was doing children book illustrations, but now in my later years, I look back and see, even then, at around age 14 I was drawing thatched houses from stories I loved as a child. I was so inspired by Micheal Hague. Even though my family was from Portugal, people use to say all the time I was more British then Portuguese because I loved those houses so much!They are just so story bookish.
My subject matter was from houses around me in New England and somehow I would convert them to stone, and change their roofs to thatch. I was also thrilled when this very wealthy man from New York came down to our shore and wanted to build himself a thatched roofed manor. It was the only thatch roof house in the area, maybe even in most of New Jersey and he claimed it was real made thatch. I had been away living in the south at the time, to come home to see they had completely remodeled the house, putting a tin roof on it instead. I had screamed at the flowers, "what kind of nut would do such a thing?" I resolved I would just have to find a new favorite house to admire while I walked by springer spaniel down the sidewalks.

It is always such a thrill when I discover a new Helen Allingham painting I have never seen before, as the wisteria strewn cottage above. She had done alot of work in her life span and we are lucky to have so many examples of her fine pen.

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