"View from the Terrace", oil on linen, 34" x 40"
Sometimes the resources my narrative portrait clients give me to work with allow me to take a virtual vacation in a beautiful location. This was definitely the scenario with John and Lee Stough. John is in real estate and Lee is an interior designer. They love dogs, travel, food, family and history and their lives revolve around those things. They bought and restored a medieval village house in Umbria, Italy and they moved a circa 1800 log meeting house from Kentucky to Sewanee Tennessee and built a house around it. So these were the rich and visually wonderful things I could incorporate into the composition.
Since their Italian homes are in Umbria, I decided to structure the painting around the architecture from a painting by one of my favorite Umbrian painters- Perugino. I have always loved the geometry of the arches in Delivery of the Keys. I wanted the arches to open to an expansive landscape that would evoke the views they enjoy in both Sewanee and Ficulle so I settled the log home on a rolling hill, visible through the left side arch. A medieval village, inspired by another Early Renaissance fresco, is in the center and an Italian village, inspired by their village in Umbria, sits beyond the terrace on the right side above the grape arbor. John and Lee provided me with a photo of themselves dining al fresco and the two dogs are their beloved Brittany Spaniels Gracie and Tyler- one is on the trail of a clever rabbit (their daughter's nickname is "Bunny" and the other is contemplating disturbing a hungry Bear (their son's nickname). There are chairs at the table for both their children when they visit and a tool box in the foreground to represent their self-confessed "addiction to sawdust".