- This past weekend, Heidi and I spent a lovely quiet time in Bridgehampton at the invitation of John Canemaker and his companion, Joe Kennedy. It made for a very restful and enjoyable time despite the grouchy weather.
The garden gives you the illusion that it’s larger than it is.
Even walking in it you feel that you could easily get lost in it.
The first dominant site you take with you as you visit the house is the amazing yard and the enormously colorful and tender care Joe and John have taken to cultivate their garden of a back yard. It’s stunningly beautiful. It feels almost as though these plants grew naturally next to each other and happen to take the shape it’s taken. The amount of weeding and nurturing and debugging is left completely behind as you bask in the warm glow of this garden with its variety of flower and shrub. It’s beautiful and peaceful and inviting. I couldn’t help myself over the course of the weekend; I took many walks in the area and sat and enjoyed it. I loved it.
The second thing that captivated me during the visit was a painting John had done. It sat on the wall of the guest room we stayed in. In the first few hours in the house I kept coming back to the painting. I liked it enough that I took out my camera and photographed it. As I did, I realized that there were other smaller paintings in the room, and I found them almost as lovely. There’s no doubt John has been taken with the amazing garden out back, and this has helped to color these fine watercolors.
This painting obviously is not from the garden (given the road sign).
However, one can’t help but feel that the life in that garden spills over
into this painting – as it does in all the others.
At some point in the weekend, I asked John if he minded my photographing some of the paintings in the house and posting them on the blog. John, as always, was quite open to anything I wanted to do, so I went about quickly taking some photos. I also intended to mix in pictures from the garden. After all, I see these paintings and the flora as intermingling and working together in a lovely way.
There were some problems. The paintings lost some of their verve when photographed. The delicate colors were lost, and the shape of the pictures altered. (The lens of the camera seems to have slightly distorted the frames of the images.) I saw the pictures in some way influenced by Mary Blair’s work, but John took her colors and softened them. (The brashness of Blair’s work has always bothered me.) In the end, I found myself adjusting the pictures slightly to try to give them a bit of the feel of the originals, but I’m not sure I’ve succeeded. However, better you should get to see these images than none. My apologies to John.
So, I hope you enjoy the quick tour.
Two other smaller pictures that were in the guest room.
Many thanks to John Canemaker and Joe Kennedy for a lovely weekend and all the wonderful inspiration, not only in the paintings but in the garden, as well. It was more than a small retreat.