Mississippi River House Portrait in Wisconsin

Lovely Riverside Home – A Fun Project!

Recently, I had the good fortune of being commissioned to paint a home that is situated in a very interesting place — right on the banks of the good ol’ Mississippi River in the mid-west state of Wisconsin. A client in Old Town Alexandria, who purchased the painting I did of their historic home, wanted this painting as a surprise gift for her friends.

Mississippi River House

The project sparked my interest in the area and I felt compelled to find out more about Mississippi River itself as well the architectural styles that can be found along its banks. I thought you might be interested in this too.

The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. It flows entirely in the United States and it ranks as the fourth longest and tenth largest river in the world! With its main tributaries, the Mississippi’s watershed drains all or parts of 31 US states and 2 Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains. The river either borders or cuts through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Additionally it remains a critical source of water for millions of people. Over 18 million people and 50 cities rely on the Mississippi for drinking water!

I also found out that the river sustains a $12.6 billion shipping industry and is a key part in a $21.4 billion tourism industry. Over 70 million people live in the Mississippi River Basin, 12 million who live in the 125 counties and parishes along the river.

The architectural background in Wisconsin is very interesting as well. With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, the state is home to a wide variety of geographical features and homes. Wisconsin’s historic homes have made a considerable contribution to American residential architecture. You can see these homes, representing a number of varied architectural styles, situated along the river. One can find an Italianate home, an interpretation of a 16th century northern Italian villa, an Adirondack-style camp in the North Woods and a 14 bedroom Georgian Revival mansion on its shores. The men and women who built these houses were powerful people of great accomplishment, people accustomed to thinking ahead, examining trends, and embracing new methods and technology. They were educated and well-traveled, exposed to a world of ideas. As such, they were intellectual and creative peers of the architects who gave form to their dreams.” – quoted from the Foreword, by Ellsworth H. Brown, The Ruth and Hartley Barker Director, Wisconsin Historical Society.

The subject of this house portrait is more of a modern riverside home. It is customary to build riparian homes up on stilts to prevent water damage in case of a river swell. It boasts a large, welcoming porch from which can be seen stellar views over the Mississippi. Imagine sitting on that lovely deck with your cup of morning coffee watching the sunrise! You can almost hear the flow of the water as it passes by.

This was a fun project for me and I look forward to painting other river homes.

Until next time,