Visiting historical places feels like stepping back in time. You might need to use your imagination to see the artist working or the writer writing, but often times the place you’re visiting has a personality all its own.
Recently, I visited Thomas Cole’s house. Thomas Cole was an artist, best known for his paintings, and credited with the founding of the Hudson River School. His paintings transform the landscape and captivates anyone who looks at them (at least in my opinion).
The house is simple – pale yellow with dark green shutters and an elevated porch. It used to sit on a large plot of land, orchards, but now there’s a road that goes through it and a few houses on the other side. In no way does this take away from the gorgeous view when standing on the porch. Beyond the bit of present-day construction lays the woods with its tall trees and mountains that appear to touch the sky. It’s a view that I believe must me seen to fully appreciate its beauty.
Of all the rooms in the house, I think the studio was my favorite. It’s one thing to step into the foyer of an old house, to see the different rooms, to imagine the use of each room and admire the authenticity of it all, but it’s another things entirely to enter a room that still feels as if it’s being used.
His studio is separate from the house, part of an old barn. Upon entering there’s a smell that matches that of an old barn, mixed with paint and age. Two easels site in the middle of the room, one with a canvas balanced on it, the other empty and waiting for art to be created. A long desk is pushed against the wall and holds books, papers and some small paints. A separate, smaller desk, is positioned between the two easels where bottles of pigment (which would be transformed into his paints) sat. It was as if Thomas Cole had walked out of his studio and everything was left waiting for his return.
It’s possible the old studio sparked my imagination as the room still seemed to be alive. It felt special. And maybe that’s why these historical places feel like stepping back in time – each one is special in it’s own way.
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