When we were first married, we’d save our pennies and rent a beach cottage on Plum Island in Newburyport, MA for a week every summer. The little enclave was frozen in time, packed with tiny houses dating to the turn of the century. We fantasized about buying one (and almost did), and I’d spend my days biking around the island taking photos of my favorites. For my husband’s birthday one summer, I presented him with an album of Plum Island’s best cottages. I’ve long been besotted with the vernacular, and that must be why Catherine Christiano’s paintings of the cottages of Old Lyme resonate so strongly with me. Her play of light, color, and shadow bring me right back to those barefoot days, freshly married, with our entire life ahead of us. You can certainly purchase an original, but if you’re on the hunt for a summery update, I’ve just learned that you can also buy limited edition archival prints of her cottages for an extremely reasonable $125. Check them out here: catherinechristiano.com Catherine will be participating in the Summer Group Show at the George Billis Gallery in Chelsea from July 10th through August 4th, and her reproductions will be available at the Florence Griswold Museum during the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival on 7/28. Also, see her work on display at the Hoxie Gallery at Westerly Public Libary’s current exhibition. A Note from Catherine: After twenty-three years in my studio that is located over a garage, I decided it was time for an update. Tapping into my technical and design skills, I drew up plans that included adding a large dormer with a bank of windows for north light, new lighting, and lots of storage. While the roof was literally cut away, I decamped for a temporary winter studio at Hawk’s Nest in Old Lyme. Hawk’s Nest is a seasonal beach community that I have returned to a number of times over the years to paint its houses perched on the edge of Long Island Sound. My past vantage point was always as a passerby, as someone ambling along the beach for an hour or two with camera in hand. This winter however, I was inside looking out. The houses that have been my subject matter for years were all around, outside every window as I moved about the cottage. I was able to observe the ever-shifting light day after day, sunrises to sunsets, and finally understood first-hand its qualities that drew the Impressionists to Old Lyme so many years ago.