Monday, July 14, 2014

"The Watson House," A Nostalgiac Photo Essay.

Last week I posted this portrait of my wife Louise on Facebook.
Her birthday was on the 10th of July. She would have been seventy years old.

That image is one of many in a little photo essay I did about a wonderful old Inn, "The Watson," at "Twin Lakes," in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. Our vacations there were nostalgic reminders for Louise of vacations spent there with her family, and eventually as a waitress.

The waitresses quarters were in the cramped, hot attic.

Part of the tradition of working as a waitress at the "Watson" was adding your signature to the many scrawled on the rafters over many years.

Here are the Innkeepers, Mr. and Mrs. Watson, with one of their sons.

Generations of families sat in rocking chairs, enjoying the view of the lake from the shaded porch,
while waiting for the call to good old "Family-Style" dinners. Louise is in her favorite spot, and our first son,
Will, is waiting for his dad to play horseshoes.

The chef taking a much needed break before shoving dozens of buns into the ovens for dinner.

I think the following images speak for themselves.

 One year we took my mother Helen with us. It was her kind of vacation spot, for sure.

 Each bedroom at the Watson House had at least one of these decorative Victorian wrought iron beds, covered with many coats of paint. After the Watsons finally closed the Inn in the early 1980s, Louise and I drove up to Twin Lakes one final time, to purchase one of the beds, which I still have.

The vacations spent at "The Watson" as a young family were at the very beginning of what would be our rich
forty-three year marriage. As with most relationships we had our share of bumpy roads. Sometimes we were not even on the same road, but in hind-sight we realized we were destined to be there, for each other, when needed. I think this picture sums it up.

Near the end of her life Louise would often
ask me, "What are you going to do,
Bill; what are you going to do?"
Good question.
Whatever it is, I seem to be doing it.


Thanks to my dear friend Peter Sasgen
for making such beautiful prints over 45 years ago.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Painting At The 300th Birthday Party Of The Barns-Brinton House In Chadds Ford.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a Saturday painting with two of my fellow "Plein Air"
friends, Bruno Baran and Jacalyn Beam, on the grounds of the Barns-Brinton House in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

There was a gentle rain when I arrived, and I found Jacalyn in the shelter of a tree, already half-way through one of her exquisite small oils.

Here is a sketch of Bruno as he worked on one of his paintings, also in oil.

By ten a.m. Reenacters were in place and mingling with the public as everyone celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Barns-Brinton House, a wonderfully preserved former colonial tavern built in 1714.

Because I enjoy talking to people about the process of doing a painting, especially when working in watercolor, I ended up finishing only one painting on this day.  

Here is my painting, which I believe captures the historical ambiance of the day. Happily the Director of the Chadds Ford Historical Society felt the same way, because she bought it.

In spite of the hot weather, and for some, heavy clothing, the Reenacters stayed in character throughout the day, dancing and sharing their knowledge of what life was like for Colonial Americans 300 years ago.

At times I felt like I was on the back-lot of a Hollywood historical film set, with all these folks "in-character."

Mmmmm...perhaps next year I will join them.

I hope you had a wonderful July Fourth weekend!