Because it took me an exceptionally long time to complete this commission, I’m going to attempt to give you as many details as possible so you can suffer along with me. It all started quite innocently when a long-time friend of mine somehow brought to my attention a photo of Martha’s Vineyard. I looked at the photo and thought wow, that looks like something I painted 30 years ago, back when I didn’t care all that much how accurately my paintings portrayed reality. So I sent her this:
She got all excited and wanted to know if I would sell it because she knew somebody (boyfriend, it turned out) who would love to have it and his birthday was imminent. Unfortunately, scrupulously honest person that I am, I said I couldn’t sell it because I painted it from a photo I didn’t take and I respect copyright laws (of course I do–I’m an artist, right?). That prompted her to ask would I do a commission from one of her photos? In the meantime I looked up the photo source of this painting which I still had from those 30 years ago, and it turned out to be Menemsha Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard, the very place she had been talking about. I got a slew of emails with more photos of “MV”, and proceeded to Photoshop™ them until my eyes turned red, trying to get a good composition that simultaneously wasn’t ridiculously complicated. We both agreed on one particularly attractive version (after I digitally tore down a few houses, sank a couple of boats, rearranged some trees, and demolished the gas pumps on one of the piers). To make it even more interesting, we both agreed that a winter scene would be a fun thing to have since almost every depiction of Martha’s Vineyard is of summer and tourists.
So to let you know just how complicated and detailed a task I set myself up for, let me say that I spent an inordinate amount of time gridding out tiny details onto the 24″ x 36″ canvas, including a bunch of houses that measured maybe 1″ wide. I have photos to prove it. Here we go (click on a photo to see in gallery mode):
If you made it this far, I hope you aren’t as exhausted as I was by the time I finished this painting. Without a doubt, it is the most intricate, detailed painting I have ever done. I’m happy with it, my friend loves it, and…who knows, maybe someone else with a cottage on Martha’s Vineyard might some day decide they would like a personal painting of their own little piece of heaven on the island?