Before I moved out and got married and began the home owning adventure documented on this blog, I used to live with my family in the suburbs, in a big split-level home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms and a family room in the basement. For a time, it was a great setup for a family with three high school or college aged kids who needed their space. But then I moved out in 2008, and my sister left for college in 2010 to ultimately become a bona fide resident of New York, and my brother started looking to move into a place of his own. From what I hear, the house was definitely starting to get that “empty nest” feeling.
So in the months leading up to my Dad’s unexpected passing away this July, my parents had actually started looking to “downsize” to a home more fitting to their current needs. Find something with fewer bedrooms and no stairs, and sell the four-bedroom split-level. With Dad gone now, Mom living all alone in that gigantic house made even less sense — the financial burdens of maintaining the house aside, they’d already decided it was too big for two people to live in, let alone one.
So over the past few months, we’ve been working on cleaning the house up and making small repairs where we can in preparation to sell it. We donated and discarded a lot of old furniture and other stuff, including around 3,000 pounds of scrap metal that was stashed in the crawlspace for some reason. Mom’s been staying with relatives, with plans to move into a small apartment of her own eventually, and she rented a storage unit nearby for some of the larger items that she didn’t want to get rid of, but that had nowhere to go for the foreseeable future.
One such item was this gigantic lighthouse painting in a burnt orange and brown color scheme, measuring around 4 by 4.5 feet:
It shows a lighthouse at sunset with waves crashing on the rocks, and a flock of white birds, and a sailboat in the distance. It’s on canvas with a narrow metallic gold frame, and there’s an artist’s signature in the bottom right corner that seems to read “Collins,” which I tried Googling but doesn’t seem to turn up anything relevant.
The painting is so big that it’s hard to do it justice with a single shot, so here are some closeups of the little details:
It had been hanging in our house for as long as I can remember, never really the center of attention, and growing up I don’t think I ever wondered about where it came from. Only in the last few months did I learn that this was actually something my dad had gotten for his apartment before he even met my mom. I never would have guessed — Dad never seemed like the sort of guy who was interested in art, or in decorative objects in general, and it makes me sad that I’ll never get to ask him about the story behind it.
But given that we had a big bare wall in our living room, letting this lovely painting moulder in a storage unit, even temporarily, just seemed wrong somehow. All of which explains the new addition to the wall behind our sofa:
Anyway, that’s the sentimental story of the first piece of art we’ve brought into our home. And speaking of which, does anyone reading have any tips for researching a painting or print? I’d be curious to know a little more about this piece (and the artist, etc.) but I don’t really know where to begin.