JANUARY 7, 2021
“MALLORY SQUARE”: Behind the painting.
Growing up around Buckeye Lake has always given me high hopes for the summer season. Living in Hebron up to the 5th grade, my mom and dad became interested in the pizza business. They were SO entrepreneurial. Mom was related to Louis Campbell of Louie’s Pizza in Newark. Louie mentored my parents through establishing The Pizza Shop in Millersport. They bought a lot on West Bank, opened that pizza shop, a dime store, and built a house. When our family first moved to the lake, there were only a handful of houses in our neighborhood that were full time residents. Everybody else was seasonal or what we referred to as weekenders. I had friends from school, but not many kids lived right on our street to ride bikes or just hang with. I remember riding my bike to South Bank a lot to see kids that were in my class. That seemed so far at the time. ;)
Don’t misunderstand me. My present day neighbors are like winning the neighbor lottery. I’m so blessed to live by and socialize with some of the nicest, kind hearted people you could ever meet. But it was a surreal existence on this street back before they all got here. I now refer to it as “The Wild, Wild West” compared to what it has become today. Back then this our neighborhood was inhabited by a couple of professional gamblers, retiree couples, a few widows and much to my little kid star struck eyes, even Sally Flowers from “Dialing for Dollars” had a cottage here. I saw her leaving her house one night in a blinding rainstorm. My dad helped her to her car with an umbrella. I felt like I’d seen Elvis because I watched her on TV every day. I couldn’t believe she had a place two doors down. The owner of the then, Kahiki Restaurant, also had ties to our street. His mother also lived a few houses down from us. He sent his kids out for the summer to stay with their Grandma Lilian. To me, it was like Christmas. We spent every day with the visiting kids in the water, ON the water, tipping over canoes and (horror of horror because I would never do it now) slinging lake bottom mud at each other. I always grieved when they went back to the city for school. I knew I’d miss them severely. It was a charmed and simple life for my brother and I and we’re lucky to have lived that way. Our “Wonder Years”.
One of the visiting kids I remember fondly was Doug Wolfe. Doug spent his summers on one of the islands down on my end of the lake. I remember seeing him drive Criss Craft boats back and forth to downtown Millersport. He would come to my mom and dad’s pizza shop on the main drag and congregate with a herd of other townies who came there to socialize and just be kids. He was always smiling and always so kind to me.
Childhood flowed into adulthood. We all grew up while time was flying and went wherever we went. I hadn’t seen Doug for several years. He spent a good part of his adult life raising a family in Granville. Successfully accomplished, he eventually missed the lake and returned in the past couple of years. Back in the day, there was a club called the Blue Goose right down from Cranberry Marsh. It was a rockin’ bar with a floating stage surrounded by little hippy trailers. All kinds of music, night life, goin’s on and frivolity went on there for decades. Almost everybody I know has a “Goose” story. The entire plat of land upon which “The Goose” stood is now peppered with beautiful homes and condos. Doug lives in this charming neighborhood which is on the opposite end of the lake from where he once spent his summer days as a kid. A new chapter and a new day for him.
Doug saw some of my art in the Boatyard and the Chef Shack (thanks guys) and tracked me down. He said he wanted a larger original painting of his new home and gave me free rein to use my style and personal spin on it. Thank God for that because I don’t know any other way. He sent me some pictures and graciously said he was in no hurry.
Last week I personally delivered “Mallory Square” to Doug’s newly established Buckeye Lake home. I couldn’t be happier for him. It is a lovely place with a heavenly view. Much to my delight he was most happy with the painting and I hung it on the wall myself while there. To me, Doug is still smiling and continually kind. We had the nicest visit. Welcome home, Doug Wolfe. Buckeye Lake has stayed in your heart until you came full circle. I am honored to have done this painting for you and I wish you many happy years of looking at it along with your beautiful view.
Buckeye Lake has left so many lasting impressions on thousands of people. So rich in history and so promising in the modern day. It’s funny how a person place or thing can get under your skin when you’re young and you never forget the feeling it gave you. Golden footprints on your heart. You can’t shake it. You don’t even want to. You may not always be readily able to reach out and touch it instantly as the years roll by, but seems like there’s a strong force propelling you back towards recreating that feeling. The feeling of “endless summer”. A glowing familiarity permanently imbedded in your soul. Reaching for the right place, maybe with the right person or doing the right thing at the right time is so great when it all comes together. Kismet. Meanwhile, as you grow up, the pages of your life fly by. Your story unfolds and those golden footprints stay with you through every single word. Sometimes it’s ok to rewrite that story to get back to something that represents a new version of your endless summer. Look forward to what comes next and always consider that whatever is going on, be it for better or worse, there’s always a new chapter up ahead.
“Mallory Square” is a 16x20 watercolor on gallery wrapped canvas. I used a few different materials from my norm. Paint marker was helpful in creating the white picket fence that borders Doug’s home. Also used some fine tip ink pens for details. I like watercolor pans and used them prolifically on this painting. The sun you see in the painting was not the original sun. The first one I painted made me very happy but I felt like it was a gaudy piece of jewelry that was just too much and stole from the focal point. The sun that appears is the “second sun” that I painted. As it turns out, the first one has already made its way into another painting. I was thrilled when Doug said to it was ok to include the neighboring places because I got to paint some pink and green ;). As for the title……I know I usually refer to some sort of song or lyric, but Mallory Square just seemed to be more fitting. This painting really pushed my comfort zone boundaries. I love it when that happens. Also I was happy to recreate a modern day Buckeye Lake landmark.
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Peace and blessings.