Art Art &Photos 30 Jun 2011 07:05 am

Canemaker’s Back Yard

- 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.

One of the larger paintings John had in his office, downstairs.

A beautiful flower that opened the day we arrived.

Spider web in the grass

Heidi sitting on the porch just to the front of the garden.

John has done many small quickly sketched watercolors.
Here, you can really feel the distortion of the camera’s lens.
Again, my apologies to John.

The wall in John’s office.

A post in the garden.

I had a hard time photographing this one.
The reflections in the picture frame’s glass was difficult to avoid.

Another painting that just totally caught my attention.

Finally, a lovely little statue sitting just off the porch.
It’s a stone rabbit that once belonged to Bill Tytla.
Adrienne Tytla, Bill’s widow gave it to John as a gift.

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.

12 Responses to “Canemaker’s Back Yard”

  1. on 30 Jun 2011 at 10:47 am 1.Charles Kenny said …

    Frank Lloyd Wright was a big proponent of finding inspiration in nature, and a garden like that makes it all the easier to see why.

    John’s made some lovely works using just his own garden as influence, as have you, Michael, with your photographs.

  2. on 30 Jun 2011 at 12:09 pm 2.DEBRA SOLOMON said …

    Enchanting! – the garden the artwork – a small bit of heaven. Thank you.

  3. on 30 Jun 2011 at 1:23 pm 3.Eddie Fitzgerald said …

    Man! Nice pictures! John and Joe should do a book about the garden. I have Christiane Kubrick’s book of garden art, and I treasure it. You wouldn’t think that paintings of plants would be so interesting, but they are…they’re fascinating. Maybe the key to successful painting of that type is for the artist to appear to recede and allow the gritty smell of the ground and the delicate color overlaid on living plant tissue take the center stage.

    On a slightly different subject, I have an old vinyl record of a reading from Virgil’s “Georgics,” which is that poet’s meditation on farming and nature. The reader does a brilliant job. I can’t remember his name, though….he’s the actor who played the young monk in the old film version of Brecht’s “Galileo.” It would make a great gift.

  4. on 30 Jun 2011 at 6:31 pm 4.mark fichandler said …

    fantabulous, but of course anything John and Joe touch is.

  5. on 01 Jul 2011 at 7:00 am 5.Richard O'Connor said …

    John’s “Bridgehampton” is one of my all time favorites. Easy, now, to see his inspiration.

  6. on 01 Jul 2011 at 11:10 am 6.The Gee said …

    That just looks like a great place to experience, morning, noon or night. Thanks for sharing.

  7. on 01 Jul 2011 at 12:25 pm 7.Mary Silverman said …

    My own home is filled with John Canemakers’ pictures of gardens and interiors too. They reflect not only John and Joe’s love of nature but also the love and warmth that they feel and give to all of us friends who have been lucky enough to have known them all these years.

  8. on 01 Jul 2011 at 12:35 pm 8.Michael said …

    Yes, Mary, John & Joe spoke often and wonderfully about their friendship with you. I envy you the house of paintings you have.

  9. on 06 Jul 2011 at 10:35 pm 9.Zoe Kamitses said …

    What a lovely compilation. John and Joe’s garden and John’s paintings…forever together and perfect. As are John’s wonderful interpretations of animals. It ‘s hard to choose between the real thing and John’s vision of the real thing … An extended fantastical dimension. Thanks so much for posting this.

  10. on 07 Jul 2011 at 3:55 am 10.Robin Allan said …

    Dear John and Joe and Heidi,
    What a fantastical and gorgeous set of pictures of your Peckerwood garden. Thank you so much for sharing their dellghts with us and for your inspired paintings, and for the happy smiling god Pan on the Pillar. Do I detect an echo of my beloved Bill smiling benignly around him. I am sure his shade would approve.

  11. on 09 Jul 2011 at 9:10 am 11.Jan and Llinda said …

    John’s art ever evolves with greater soul and unique vision.
    The country house seems a garden inside and out enveloping the senses with color, movement and phases of beautiful life.

    John and Joe are near and dear to our hearts! They make the best music together!

    Thanks for posting these glorious paintings! You should see the ones we have on the walls.

    Linda and Jan

    Get thee down to Florida!!!!!!

  12. on 17 Feb 2013 at 3:09 pm 12.Federico Fiecconi said …

    An enchanted place: peaceful and amazing. Bravo!

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