With a residence that is constructed of nearly all glass I wondered if you can even say if it has a ‘front’ or a ‘back’. It lacks any classical references. It has no formal doorway flanked with columns, no orders or pediment. It is just a shiny clear box resting in nature.
This second attempt at the Glass House had me contemplating what I perceive to be the most symbolic aspects of the iconic structure. While it may not have been the intention of the architect, there is something polarizing about the large panes of glass, a by-product of the industrial age, and the bucolic Connecticut landscape. Even though the glass is transparent, it acts physically both as a gateway and a barrier to nature.
This time I chose to paint from the opposite side of the house, the side closest to Ponus Ridge road. Taking an extreme angle from the northeast corner, I could see through the waist high kitchen area, the large brick column that houses the fireplace, bathroom etc., and part of ‘Circus’ the double figured Elie Nadelman sculpture which humanizes the house. Reflected in the facade was a classic New England stone wall, a vibrant well-groomed lawn and a collection of mature sugar maples, whose amber and green tones indicated the later stages of Autumn.
I find painting landscapes one of the most daunting and intimidating subjects. There are a lot of strategic decisions to make regarding the level of detail to paint without slavishly rendering every facet of what appears before you. Normally, I steer clear of the predictable ‘plein air’ subject matter. Yet there I was, squarely in the middle of a landscape painting. The steel framework was the reference point which brought me back to what I had come to paint – the architecture.