The studio of Mindy and Ronni Reasonover in the 1864 Captain John Tobey House on Route 28 in East Falmouth is part fine art, part fantasy, and all color. Enormous, brightly painted wooden dragonflies float from the ceiling overhead, while vibrant oversized lobsters perch beside funky renditions of Cape Cod scenes and mermaids chatting over cocktails.
“We think outside the box,” says Mindy, who is known for her classic-style hydrangea acrylic paintings, while Ronni is known for his one-of-a-kind wooden sculptures.
Both members of this husband-and-wife duo took a somewhat circuitous route to their current careers. Mindy owns Color Your World, a home design business she started 25 years ago. Up to that point, the Sudbury native had attended secretarial school, worked in corporate America, and sold real estate. But on the side, she had designed and decorated her friends’ homes, just for the fun of it.
One day a woman offered to pay her for her design services. “I was taking a painting class at the time,” Mindy recalls, “and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I bet I could paint murals.’ I asked her if I could try painting a mural in her house. I figured if it didn’t work, I could just paint over it. It was kind of my aha! moment.” The mural worked, and many of the woman’s neighbors requested Mindy’s services. “I started Color Your World, and it exploded from there,” she says. “I was busy every day.” Today, her clients include Jordan’s Furniture, Amari Restaurant in Sandwich, the Popponesset Inn in Mashpee, and La Cucina in Falmouth.
Working with designers and decorators, Mindy moves with ease from funky faux finishes to finely detailed paintings on tabletops. A brightly colored painting of a compass with a fish on one used tabletop makes the piece look brand new. She also utilizes painted shells and jellyfish to adorn bathroom walls. “I do all the design, from choosing all the colors, to designing whatever a room needs,” Mindy says. “Stripes, flowers, a beach scene—I can create whatever people want.”
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, husband Ronni studied art at Troy State University in Alabama, but he put his artistic career on hold while he played professional baseball for six years with the Atlanta Braves and the Detroit Tigers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Baseball had always been in his life; his father even played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After he left the big leagues, Ronni started a carpentry business in Natick. He has always loved working with wood—“stuff I find on the beach, stuff that people drop off, any kind of wood,” he says. “The best is the old, with a lot of character. I buy lumber sometimes at Home Depot when I don’t even need it!”
Ronni also dabbled in painting over the years, and slowly, art began making its way back into his life. Fast forward to 2000—the year he met Mindy. “That was when it became all about color,” he says. Ronni ended up shutting down his business and going to work with Mindy at Color Your World. “I know what I can do with color now,” Ronni says. “His paintings before were dark and scary,” Mindy adds with a laugh. The couple married in 2001 and moved to Cape Cod.
Ronni crafts one-of-a-kind custom beds, tables, and other furniture, largely out of old wood that’s been salvaged from torn-down houses and old boats. He creates whatever strikes him in the moment, and his style varies from classic to whimsical—from a traditional table featuring a painting of a compass rose and a fish to a table that’s shaped like a fish. Always one to try something new, Ronni began creating woodcarvings as décor items, painting the pieces in bold, primary colors. The first of these creations to sell was a giant, six-foot lobster. That was back in 2011, and his art business has snowballed since.
If Mindy has influenced Ronni’s work, he has also been a major influence on hers. He thought it only natural that such a great muralist would also be great at fine art painting. He asked, “Why don’t you try putting some paintings onto canvases?” and that was the catalyst for Mindy’s foray into oil painting 17 years ago. Now she teaches oil painting classes twice a week at her in-home studio. Many of her students are fellow artists, and Mindy says she is constantly learning something new. “Teaching,” she says, “makes me a better artist.”
Visitors stop by frequently to see what Ronni might be doing in his driveway, as he’s often out there creating something whimsical in wood. They can also find him painting with his easel in various locations on the Cape. “I’m inspired by nature,” he says. “The beaches and the houses on the Cape have so much character. And I’m inspired by Mindy. We’re inspiring to each other.” – Marina Davalos