Egg tempera and oil on masonite
24" x 18", 2008
In one of our trips to upstate New York we went to see this house that was for sale, a three floor big old house that seemed like it used to be a hotel. A small group of friends had been there previously on the same day and came out with a chilling impression of the house; of course when I heard this I was immediately drawn into visiting it.
I went with some friends in a couple of cars. When we went through the front doors we noticed that the interior of the house was colder than the exterior and a weird sensation that we shouldn’t be there invaded us. It was so eerie to see some of the rooms still with furniture and personal belongings of long bygone guests; some of the beds had the sheets on and the drawers still had clothes and other objects inside but it was also evident that no living soul had been in these rooms for many years. Some of our friend’s curiosity was satisfied just by seeing the first floor and decided not to go further into the rest of the house. Of course I had to see the whole house and since some of the rooms were closed, every time I opened a door I had the feeling that somebody would come out of the room and yell at me for being there.
I regretted not having a camera with me.
I was drawn to a room on the first floor that was almost bare of furniture but the paint from the ceiling had peeled off and fallen into the floor and the bed throughout the years; the light from the only window allowed me to appreciate the room and again, judging by the peeled paint on the floor I am sure that no one had walked in this room for a long time.
I felt relieved when I left the house but the memory of the room with the peeled paint on the floor would come into my mind for many months after that.
I wanted to go back to this house to take pictures and use them as reference for a painting.
Many months later I was back in the house with my friend Jane who was so kind to accompany me, this time I made sure to bring a tripod and a camera. It was the middle of summer and as we walked into the house we were surprised to notice that this time we didn’t feel any chilling energy but instead a sensation of sorrow for the house invaded us. I still felt some kind of presence in it but a sudden desire to fix the house and to take care of it became very powerful. I didn’t want to loose time so we went directly into the room that I wished to photograph noticing that the amount of peeled paint on the floor was even more abundant than before. I asked Jane to stand next to the bed and walk carefully so she wouldn’t disturb the peeled paint on the floor. I wanted to ask her to sit on the bed but the expression on her face told me that she wouldn’t dare touch anything in there so I didn’t ask. We took some more shots and of course, we had to see the whole house again.
Copyright © by Miguel Tió