Of all the paintings I completed as Christmas gifts last year, this one is my favorite. My husband, Rob, asked me to paint it as a gift for his grandmother, Louise. The subject for the painting is her old house – where Louise and her late husband Robert raised their family and where Rob’s dad and his three sisters grew up. The house, which they no longer live in but is still standing, is located in Knifley, Kentucky.
This house has a very interesting history. In the mid 1960’s, the entire town of Knifley was relocated when the Corps of Engineers was planning to flood the area to create the Green River Lake. The Spires family moved their home to a new plot of land away from the flood zone.
The photos below show the house being loaded onto the trailer, driven down the highway, and delivered to its new location. As big of an undertaking as it sounds, the actual move itself took place within one day, though the prep work (removing the foundation, putting the house on the trailer) took some time. Even more interesting is that the family was able to leave everything in the house as it was…the house was moved so carefully that none of their personal possessions were out of place when it arrived at the new location. In fact, Louise has told me that on the day of the big move, she left tomatoes on the sill of the open kitchen window and they remained completely unmoved during the transition.
This photo shows the home in its new location and is the reference photo I used for the painting. One big challenge of painting this piece is that the reference photo was in black and white. Rob’s dad helped me with the colors of the siding, roof, shutters, ironwork etc… It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be; I just focused on value levels and the colors fell into place. Another thing you’ll notice is the truck I painted into the piece that is not present in the reference photo. At Rob’s request, I added his grandpa’s truck to the panting, a blue 1972 Chevrolet C-10.
Rob’s grandma was totally surprised by the painting and loved it! It now hangs in her living room where she can see it every day.