Several years ago we were captivated by the colorful canvasses painted by Robert Cardinal, which we saw in a Provincetown gallery. So much so that my artist wife took the liberty of doing her own version of a Cardinal depiction of Highland Light. Then, in September 2012, we found ourselves with some time after lunch in Provincetown and meandered down the road that runs past his studio. We stopped, it was open (it had been closed the prior year) and we stepped in. For several minutes we had the place to ourselves, as he was elsewhere on the property. We admired the large canvas with only a pencil sketch that was in progress, looked at all his painting tools and were intrigued by the bookshelves that covered an entire wall.
When he appeared, he could not have been more gracious, showing us around the rooms where many canvasses were hung and describing his approach to his art, which had evolved since we saw that lighthouse painting years earlier. The highlight, though, was when he took down some of his books, a collection he had gathered over his entire career, and pointed out some of his favorite pages. Truly an unforgettable moment with an important but down-to-earth figure in America's contemporary art scene.