The Painted House

The Painted House, by Joan P. Albaugh

Throughout my career as an artist certain themes and images have remained constant. These images and themes, though they may fluctuate and change, their essence continues to weave in and out of my work. Be it an isolated house, an empty pool, a snorkeler, a bush or a buoy…all are echoes or a story, a story perhaps without a plot, a haiku of a memory, a breeze with light.

Having lived in Manhattan and Jersey City for many years, I moved to Nantucket 11 years ago and began a series of isolated houses. Being entranced by the strong winter light, so blinding and sharp that windows and trivialities of architecture were all but obliterated, the house became a symbol for me. Over time the houses have evolved echoing winter’s isolation and muted colors. While most of my houses are inspired by a specific source, they often evolve and change (as will the landscape and setting) throughout the course of the painting, all in an attempt to find the painting’s heart, Some houses will have windows and some will not, most often depending upon what will work best for the painting – what is essential for the story.

I studied at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where I received a BFA through Tufts University. While there I concentrated in watercolor, oil, assemblages and collage, being very influenced by the box maker, Joseph Cornell. Though I no longer construct boxes and assemblages, I like to think that my chosen image evokes a similar feeling, a certain remembrance or things past, a memory found, a connection captured. It wasn’t until later – when I started painting – did people start connecting my work with Edward Hopper, and, as I looked to him – though sometimes repelled – I realized that we share a similar vision, a vision I would later find with the American artist, Rockwell Kent, another painter or isolated landscapes, heartbreaking in emptiness but vibrating in vivid colors.

My love for Vermeer, Joseph Cornell, Rockwell Kent and Hopper and Hockney in my youth, – and, more recently, Gerhard Richter, the photographers Ansel Adams, Atget and Carlton Watkins, films and literature and travel – all weave their influences into my story of living on Nantucket with my son. Whether a house, a snorkeler, a buoy, a road – these symbols are used as tools to tell a story, to connect and to evoke our shared human experience.