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Ashfield Farms

The sky was overcast as I set up to paint from the edge of route 116 in Ashfield, MA.

The trees were just beginning to turn colors and the the late summer greens were still bright in the meadows.

The farms along this route are over 100 years old with great big barns, stone walls and large mature sugar maples.


The farms are clustered in this valley and from above look as if they are a little village or neighboorhood of Ashfield itself which is very rural. There must have been a lot of ash trees around here originally or they might still be here .

The sky would get bright and the sun would almost come out . The colors were so bright with the leaves changing that it didn’t feel like an overcast day. Fall in new England is like this – it never feels gray until the leaves drop.

This farm had a huge barn that was very old. They have a small herd of Belted Galloways. The pastures were liberally sprinkled with the favorite crop around here – boulders; that get pushed to the surface every spring.
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Thunder & Tobacco

I took a short road trip to Hatfield & Whatley, MA; small towns in the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts. Thunder storms rushing in from the Berkshires shortened my painting and sketching time. A field and tobacco barn in Whatley before the rain hit.

It was really great to see these clouds roll out of the foot hills across the flat area of the Connecticut River Valley. You could see the lightening and hear the thunder from clouds way back in the Berkshires.

Here are the super quick sketches I did of the edge of the storm just arriving and after the rain at the diner ( with gray tone markers and a field sketch water color box.) I am trying out at least 5 brands of paint right now. This is Sakura. Nice handy box and great water barrel brush but the colors don’t touch Daniel Smith’s.

I had no time to even set up to paint when the rain hit and blasted through the valley. By the time we got to the Whatley Diner everything was drenched and the sky was beginning to clear.

The next morning on our way back to Maine cool air and puffy clouds were floating above the fields in North Hatfield. It was a perfect summer day.

A quick road and barns sketch with the Sakura Koi box. These are all on basic all purpose drawing paper.

The tobacco barns are such nice classic worn structures and add a strong visual geometry to the wide vistas.
On this short trip time & weather limited me to sketches and watercolors . The last two sketches are the same location slightly different design and with Daniel Smith colors. Love these paints. I can use any old brush, any old paper and the colors sing. If I ever meet Daniel Smith I will hug & kiss him !