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Vermont Farms, Snow and Mountains

 It was a fine December day when we drove from the seacoast up into the hills of Vermont to deliver paintings to Galleria Fine Arte in Stowe.
An early morning storm was clearing out. 


Fresh snow covered the landscape…

…the higher the altitude, the deeper the snow.

We arrived at the gallery shortly before sunset.

Giancarlo and Maria helped Marcus and I bring the paintings into the gallery. They hung the paintings so fast that by the time I came in from sorting out my car they were already on the walls! 

We reviewed my videos and set up the laptop for easy viewing by the collectors.

The gallery is a cluster of intimate rooms. It has a wonderful feeling to it. 

Giancarlo and Maria are gracious, warm and friendly.  Did I mention they are Italian?  

You might enjoy espresso and biscotti as part of the viewing experience…

…from cozy chairs with great art all around you. 

The a gallery is on one of the most scenic thoroughfares in Vermont.

Stowe is in a picturesque valley in between the Green Mountains and the Worcester Range.  It is close to Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont.

All across the valley you can find many old farms with great barns.

This area is in the snow belt.  It snows here even when the sun is out 30 miles away.

The mountain ranges hold the clouds on their peaks. When a snow squall moves in you can no longer see the peaks beyond the nearby trees.

The light and color on the fields reminds me of paintings by Russian painters. They would be quite at home in northern Vermont!

Johnson is a neighboring town to the north of Stowe in the Lamoille River Valley.

I love this place !  The old farms are my favorite.  I used to live nearby in Burlington and visited often. 

The Bryan Memorial Gallery in the town of Jeffersonville is a special place. On exhibit were a great collection of Vermont paintings.

Jeffersonville is on the west side of Mount Mansfield.  Smugglers Notch is a gap on route 108 through the Green Mountain range. 

The road is closed from November to May because snow and ice make it too dangerous to drive across.


There are a thousand paintings waiting to be painted near Jeffersonville.  The landscape is dramatic and it has a distinctive character.

It is crisscrossed with narrow dirt roads.  It was on these roads that I got my expert driving experience to navigate single lanes in rural Scotland when I visited there. 

It was almost time for the opening !

Lights twinkled at the gallery. 

The Stowe Community Church tower was lit up as well. 

Giancarlo arrived to light tall candles in glass boxes along the walk way.

The guests started arriving and the party began !

We were a happy trio after long weeks of preparation.
The show stays up until January 22nd. Please stop by  Galleria Fine Arte if you are in Stowe, Vermont.
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Short Days, Long Nights

I painted outdoors for 5 years. I did not like painting in a studio once I painted en plein air. I knew I’d have to go back inside one day… so in preparation for that day I built a new studio. 

It is painted off white(including the floor) and has banks of 5,000 lumen lights overhead with a mixture of color balanced spot lighting.  These past few weeks I’ve been in the studio painting…I”m painting large paintings from sketches and field studies; both water color and oil .


I have a practice of doing sketches, watercolors and oils on location. 
Some are very rough.

I stand in one spot and keep recording what I am seeing.


I turn to my left and sketch and paint that view …


…then turn to my right and do the same…


I will walk around and try to capture enough detail and a feeling of the place for me to be able to remember what was important to me at that time. 


I used the watercolor sketches to put together this oil painting. I’m trying for the essence of the place, the soul of the day…its not quite finished.


I do these very quick value/temperature studies to sample colors and see how much chroma the mood will bear.

I’ll do a fast watercolor just to get the feel of the action. These clouds were racing out to sea after a thunder storm cleared out.

A  quick watercolor value study gives me a feel for the simple masses and the shape of things, like wandering with my mind through a place before I decide how I want to depict it. Its very liberating to do this. It helps me to get familiar and comfortable with a place.
   

On location I do rough sketches first, quick watercolors..then I often will do a series of quick 20 minute oil sketches back to back. Why?  I’ve found that if I paint like this I will often have something good from the lot that I can take home and work with.  I’m a real process painter. I do hundreds of starts, 5×7, 6×8, 8×10’s on location.  So now I’m painting in the studio I have no shortage of reference material for these large paintings I’m working on. 

Water colors ~ 6×8’s, 90 lb. sketch paper 6×10, 90 lb. sketch paper  8×12  300 lb. Arches rough 
Oils ~ 8×10 linen on panel, canvas on  panel

PAINT EAT SLEEP for more views of paintings.


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Big Paintings Need a Big Easel

I didn’t need a studio for about five years. I just painted outdoors,  brought them home and put them on a table in the garage to dry.  I couldn’t stand painting indoors. When I started painting in plein air after years of being in a studio I wanted just the sky as the roof over my head. 
Things change. I just bought a Beauport for painting outdoors and on Friday a local painter wanted to sell a large studio easel. Since I’m painting larger these days I thought I’d better get it. I went to Janet’s studio to pick it up. 

Marcus came to help me.  We brought tools to take it apart. No need ! It fit easily into the Subaru.    

The only piece we had to take off was the pole. 

Marcus was very happy we didn’t have to use the half mile of rope we brought with us!

The hatch closed easily and the trip back to my studio was a leisurely cruise.  Just not liking moving stuff to my studios in my 20’s. Then it was always a hair raising adventure. 
Marcus could practically do this himself.
It came with extra parts to telescope the pole even higher.  No need for that right now.  
Here’s a 30×40 canvas sitting on it.  Theres plenty more room for a bigger canvas
And here is the poor old easel that was sitting in my studio with that larger canvas on it.  It just about filled it up .   Marcus eyed this lonely little easel with a delighted look on his face. I can see he will be using it soon.  Next, he will want to move into my studio to paint next to me.  Good thing he has a job and won’t be around all the time …or I will have to build a bigger studio!