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Vermont ~ Farms, Mountains and Meadows

It rained and rained and rained in Vermont a week ago and the creeks and rivers went wild.  Roads, houses, trees and cows were swept away in the deluge.
A few places in Vermont were spared the flooding and destruction. North Bennington was one of them.  The 2nd Annual North Bennington Vermont Plein Air Competition went ahead as planned, on schedule.
 Farms, Rain and Mist Study, 6×12 oil
Artists arrived from distant corners of the country on Tuesday afternoon to meet on the beautiful grounds of Taraden.
Dave and his team of American Cream draft horses took the painters  on a nice slow tour through the center of North Bennington.
The Park-McCullough Estate is elegant. It has a gorgeous period carriage barn.  
Wildlife abounds in Vermont. Two moose were seen trampling across the grounds!
The variety of life in North Bennington is elegant, lovely, charming, gritty and authentic. Real Vermonters have storefronts in downtown. The small motor repair garage is a favorite spot to paint.
Heavy rain clouds hung around on our first day of painting.
It alternately drizzled and poured buckets for hours… not a chance of sunshine breaking through.  
Jane Ramsey and I went to the Park- McCullough Estate to paint under cover of the carriage barn.
The pastures and woodlands were filled with water.
Meadows in the Rain Study, 9×12, oil
All kinds of antique carriages were parked in the barn behind us.
Jane set up in a dry corner to paint a view of the gardens to the south. We painted under cover until the sky brightened.  
When the rain lightened to a drizzle we headed over to the Paran Stream in the center of town. We parked our cars near the river to paint in them if it started pouring again. Andrew set up next to me with plenty of waterproofing ! He was totally prepared for anything.
 A light rain started to fall… I was getting wet… my paints and canvas stayed dry in the car. 
I marked in the color notes on my painting as the clouds built up overhead and it started to rain steadily. It was calm, no winds, so we all could paint comfortably.
In a couple of hours the rain lightened and the storm moved out. The valleys made clouds that rose up into the sky.
Rain and Mist, 14×18, oil 
It looked like it might really stop raining.  We noticed bits of blue sky!
The next day brought clouds and sunshine so we headed out into the high hills of North Bennington and Shaftsbury. Andrew was our adventurous scout who could navigate to any hilltop we chose. 
We painted at a private farm and along the country roads.
Four Corners, 9×12, oil
Bruce painted larger canvases as the day went on.  He was having fun for sure!
So were the other happy campers! Andrew and Jane took a break after Jane arrived at our encampment with her watercolor of Four Corners.
Bruce picked up speed as he realized the clouds were moving back in changing the look of the landscape.
On my way home after painting all day I spotted the sunset behind some high meadows. I stopped to do a quick painting. All the meadows sloped down to a curving zig-zaging valley.
Meadow Sunset, 9×12 oil
The next morning the sun really came out and  it was gorgeous … we needed our umbrellas for shade! Andrew, Hui Lai and I headed over to the quarry to paint in the morning.  Hui Lai used 2 umbrellas while painting in the quarry.  
Every day it got better. On Saturday Jane and I were invited to paint at Meadowood Farm where we  were treated like royalty and served a sumptous breakfast … Jane sketched pictures of our colorful feast !
As we painted the sunshine returned to Vermont, the fields glimmered green and gold….
… the ridges of the Green and Taconic Mountains rose wild and blue in the distance. It was heavenly to be in Vermont painting the warm colors of early fall. 
The Quarry, 8×10 oil
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Paint, Eat, Sleep

What a whirl wind week- the usual at plein air events.  Everything is at mega speed, you paint in the morning at one location and by afternoon you think you were there yesterday .  You paint, eat, sleep and do it again. The days run together and blur…

Then there’s this big party…

and there is music…

and laughter…

secrets are shared…

new friends celebrate…

the collectors arrive…

awards are given…

congratulations and good cheer abound…

 the moment is fleeting…

painting is a memory…

art leaves for a new home…

parting is imminent…

the crowd is gone, the couch is full …

we leave Vermont and head for home.

The North Bennington Plein Air Competition
Judge: James Gurney
First Prize: Jane Ramsey
Second Prize: Andrew Orr
Third Prize: Hiu Lai Chong
Peoples Choice: Chris Coyne
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Painting on Marginal Way, Ogunquit, Maine

Marian, Willek and Dennis headed up to Maine to paint for the day with me.  We were hoping for big surf as our subject matter.  This is the view from Israel’s Head looking south on toward Perkins Cove.   

No such luck!  It was as calm as a lake.  Such is the life of plein air painters 
Marian set up facing north looking toward the rocks with Ogunquit Beach in the background. 

Willek & Dennis of course went out farther into the big craggy stuff and set up on the edge.

Willek is down on the rocks on the side of a crevice which in rougher weather would be dicey.

Dennis was on the side of the path tucked into the hill side. A least he could step back and not worry about falling off. 

A couple of big guys who were walking by were so impressed with Willek’s start that they wanted his biz card so they could see the painting when he was finished.

Here Marian is working away .  It was calm and peaceful so she even had her umbrella up! 

I decided to paint this view of the rocks. 

Here is my start. See Marian holding her hat? Well, a big wind came in and blew her umbrella inside out and then it was gusty for the rest of the time. A front was coming in.

This is where I decide to stop on this painting.

I went and found Wilek packing up .

And Dennis cleaning his palette. We then headed off to pick up some lunch and set up in our afternoon location, Perkins Cove.  
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Day I ~ The Plein Air Painters Invitational ~ Kennebunkport

The Maine Art Gallery hosted the Plein Air Painters Invitational as part of Arts in the Inns in Kennebunkport, ME. Thirteen painters arrived from all over the country to paint for 3 days in the Kennebunks and Cape Porpoise. My day’s painting schedule started with a bright location in the marshes at Rachel Carson.

For a sketch at Parsons Beach at midday the light and clouds were already changing.

When I parked in the afternoon to paint on the Mousam River it was overcast.

While painting a quick sketch of the Pineapple in dry dock the sun peaked through around 6pm.

I started my last painting of the day at the mouth of the harbor in Kennebunkport at 800 pm. During the day I painted 6×8’s, 8×10’s and 9×12 ‘s. It was a long day.

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Day IV ~ The Opening & the Luminaries

The opening was in the Gallery on Chase Hill, a great spot overlooking the harbor. Marcus came so I’m in some of the pictures. Here I am with artists John Caggiano and Lori Putnam.

John caught up with his old friend Stapleton Kearns. He and Stapleton go back 30 years. They both lived and had galleries on Bearskin Neck in Rockport, MA. John’s galllery is still there at # 66. Stapleton now lives in NH.
A pause with Stefan Pastuhov. Stefan hails from Linconville, ME.

Gallery manager Amy Boucher stopped to visit with Anthony Watkins and me. Anthony painted a portrait of artist Lucia deLeiris in the garden of the Nonatum just before he arrived at the opening!

Artist Kathy Delumpa Allegri of Portland OR. might be the artist who traveled the farthest to the invitational. Here she is with some of the watercolors she painted during the week.

To see the paintings on view in the Gallery at Chase Hill

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Day II ~ Champagne & Artists in Kennebunkport

Thursday was sunny and warm for the Tattinger champagne reception in the evening on the lawn of the Breakers. Four artists painted the view from the lawn during the reception, Leonard Mizerek , Joan van Roden White, Stapleton Kearns and myself. Here artists Lori Putnam and Anthony Watkins chat as Leonard Mizerek (in the background wearing the brimmed hand) paints lobster boats in the harbor as guests head over to watch him work on the painting.

Three tents housed the food, drinks, guests and paintings on display.

Artists Anthony Watkins, Stefan Pastuhov and Paul Goodnow chatted with Stapleton Kearns as he painted a view of the harbor from the lawn’s edge.

Here’s my 6×8″ sketch looking at Kennebunkport Harbor. I set up my EasyL behind Stapleton and looked to my right for a clear view of my subject. I set my timer and painted for 20 min. to keep it fresh and keep me focused as artists and collectors watched us paint and chatted with us .