Long Summer

Meredith d'Ambrosio

Meredith d’Ambrosio

“I took a triple-take as I noticed a three-story treehouse in the process of being built, and looked for a place to park to study the scene for a while.”—Meredith d’Ambrosio

The Disappearing Land

By Meredith d’Ambrosio

Meredith d'AmbrosioDUXBURY Massachusetts—(Weekly Hubris)—9/14/2015—

"Duxbury Treehouse", Oil on Linen, 24" x 36" (2015)

“Duxbury Treehouse,” Oil on Linen, 24″ x 36″ (2015).

Driving home from Snug Harbor after shopping for fresh seafood in Duxbury, I decided to experiment by taking a shortcut onto Surplus Street, through an intriguing area near the harbor. I took a triple-take as I noticed a three-story treehouse in the process of being built, and looked for a place to park to study the scene for a while. I drove down a long driveway to ask the owner’s permission to sketch this delightful place. I discovered that the treehouse was built around a big old white ash tree.

The next day, I began to depict the scene with black pencil while the owner’s young boys rode their dirt bikes around me, back and forth, as I sketched. They stopped to watch for a while, and told me that the treehouse was built for them to enjoy their play-time. I was especially amused by the limbs and branches protruding from the tree inside the house and sticking out of windows and other spaces.

Shingles had not yet been added. After taking the drawing home to my studio to paint the scene, two weeks later I was ready to drive by to see how much progress had been made with the shingles and other parts of the land around the structure. Where there was sand there was now grass growing everywhere, and shingles were finally in place. I will always wonder if asking the owner permission to paint the house had spurred him on to finishing the treehouse before the completion of my painting.

"Bateau Daphné", Watercolor, 15" x 22" (1995).

“Bateau Daphné,” Watercolor, 15″ x 22″ (1995).

On my first visit to Auvers-sur-Oise, the charming French village where Van Gogh lived, painted, and is buried, my husband, Eddie Higgins, and I had been invited to perform in the concert hall of a stationary barge called Bateau Daphné, docked on the Oise River. Before our concert, I gazed through a porthole and was captivated by the mirror-like calm of the river. Spring was breaking through.

"Debut Of Spring", Watercolor, 15" x 22" (1995), Permanent Collection, Midwestern Museum of American Art.

“Debut Of Spring,” Watercolor, 15″ x 22″ (1995), Permanent Collection, Midwestern Museum of American Art.

Continuing our stroll through the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, I came upon one of my favorite scenes, and the debut of Spring was apparent. With their thick greenish-gold trunks and newly sprouted light green leaves, the stately poplars lined the winding path along the Oise River, and mysteriously disappeared around the bend in the distance.

Note: D’Ambrosio’s upcoming museum-exhibition  will run from November 15, 2015 till February 14, 2016 at the Art Complex Museum of Duxbury MA. At the November 15 Reception, D’Ambrosio will be performing with jazz pianist Chris Taylor.


Meredith d'Ambrosio

About Meredith d'Ambrosio

Boston-born Meredith d’Ambrosio, a Renaissance woman whose creative work crosses many genres, has successfully combined careers in the musical and visual arts. In 1958, in Boston, d’Ambrosio began singing with small bands, accompanied by Roger Kellaway on piano. Although she has worked primarily as a jazz singer-pianist, she is also known internationally as a calligrapher, watercolorist, creator of eggshell mosaics, composer, lyricist, recording artist, and teacher. D’Ambrosio branched out into New York City in 1981 and, since then, has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, performing with such musicians as Harold Danko, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Fred Hersch, Eddie Higgins, Dick Hyman, Hank Jones, Lee Musiker, Mike Renzi, Richard Wyands, Milt Hinton, Major Holley, Jay Leonhart, Michael Moore, George Mraz, Rufus Reid, Leroy Vinnegar, Buddy DeFranco, Harry Allen, Lee Konitz, Ken Peplowski, Phil Woods, Jack Sheldon, Al Grey, Johnny Frigo, Gene Bertoncini, Kevin Eubanks, Joe Ascione, Terry Clarke, Keith Copeland, Jake Hanna, Butch Miles and Ben Riley (view d’Ambrosio’s complete discography at www.meredithdambrosio.com). Currently working primarily in oils on canvas, d’Ambrosio is preparing for a major solo exhibition, November 2015 through February 2016, at the Art Complex Museum of Duxbury, Massachusetts. “Landscapes Of The North Countries” will comprise oils on canvas and linen, as well as watercolors, and include scenes from France, Italy, Switzerland, North America, and Canada, as well as new oils of Duxbury, commissioned by the museum. D’Ambrosio’s paintings, both watercolors and oils, may be viewed through www.meredithdambrosio.com, her multifaceted website, which covers her work as a musician, painter, and writer.
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6 Responses to Long Summer

  1. Avatar Will Balk, Jr. says:

    Lovely pieces, Meredith. The Bateau Daphne is especially evocative, but the scene along the Oise and the treehouse are both quite wonderful. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  2. Dear Will,
    Many thanks for your kind comments about my French paintings. This village where Van Gogh lived and painted still leave questions in my mind about why he didn’t depict the scenes that I chose to paint. Not that I’m not greatful for introducing the scenes!

  3. Avatar Anita Sullivan says:

    What a lucky treehouse, to be sketched and painted by you! As always, my spirits are lifted and my imagination expanded by your beautiful work.

  4. Dear Anita,
    Your sweet words are inspiring! Thank you so much.

  5. Your art is absolutely fantastic. Both visually & vocally!!!
    I am a BIG fan.

  6. Hi Richie,
    And I, a big fan of you and your important book.
    Many thanks for your kind words!

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