In paintings, as in dreams, all houses are self-portraits. One reason to paint a house—any house—is to find out what a house looks like.1 On the street there is too much light. In the studio, under the glare of the bright floods, a painter can close his eyes, let a house build him. Houses are part of the natural history of a landscape, remnants of a remote civilization of which I have only the sparest clues: its dwellings, its people, its bones, and its business. Spare because they betoken so little that means anything to me. The house of a hardworking writer signifies something I understand. A great poet’s house is something to celebrate. But a motif—which is only an impulse for dreaming in paint, an organizing principle for visual improvisation—does not derive out of admiration, likes, or dislikes. It is hardly a choice at all. Nor is it an intellectual process.