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An Artist's New England: Painter Maureen Gallace

I grew up in New England—in Monroe, Connecticut—and spent my summers on Cape Cod, near Woods Hole. The pictures are sketches and paintings that I made of places I've been to often.

Truro, on Cape Cod, is unlike any other place I've ever seen. It's the light, the air, and the quiet of everything. Most of the houses are hidden down long and mysterious paths. But the beach cottages are completely exposed.

Part of the reason I love Truro is that Edward Hopper lived here. His work has been a big influence on mine. His landscapes are so beautifully painted and are so much about the essence of the places he depicts.

Route 15 links New York City with southwestern Connecticut. I've done this drive a million times; it's so familiar to me, yet it's always beautiful. Everything looks gray and icy at dusk. The entire countryside is reduced to winter colors and shapes.

Often old houses in Connecticut are really close to the street, because they were there long before the road was built. I love the way the white farmhouses look when their roofs are heaped with snow. Everything is still and cold. In the snow and ice, the houses seem like one perfect, contained form. In winter, driving through Monroe and the small towns around it—Bethel, Easton, Redding—is one of my favorite things to do.

The New Canaan Reservoir is an eerie, calm, beautiful place—especially when it's covered in snow. When I was a child, my father used to take us fishing there in summer.

New Canaan is also where Rick Moody's book The Ice Storm was set, the one that was made into a movie with Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline. I love that book because it captures what it was like to grow up in this part of Connecticut during the seventies. There actually were a lot of ice storms, and they were amazing. Everything looked as if it were sheathed in glass.

Easton, Connecticut, 20 miles away, is a really old town. There are still a number of small working farms and orchards around here. Easton is where you go when you want to cut down your own Christmas tree.

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