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Wind, Weather & Paint in Vermont’s Green Mountains

High up in the Brandon Gap in the Green Mountains the loudest sound is cascading water.  An occasional car goes by on the road that follows streams that rush down the gap into the valleys on each side.  

This road is paved all the way through to the other side of the mountains. Some of the other routes that criss-cross the mountains are so steep and twisty that they are closed from first snow to last snow. With narrow hairpin turns its impossible to plow them.  

Near the top of the gap close to the AppalachianTrail I found a trail that went straight into the national forest. 

One of these rushing mountain streams flowed under this trail through a culvert.

The trees at top of the ridge were almost bare.  

  
It was heavenly. It was so quiet. 

 The weather was changing so I got as much vital information as I needed then moved on to my next location. 

The next morning when I woke up… of course it was raining.

My friend Andrew joined me for a day of painting so our plan was to set up in a spot near our cars so we could get out of the rain if need be.  

It was needed…
The start of my sketch of Liberty Hill Farm,  11×14 oil on canvas panel.

About midday the weather began to clear so we headed up into the gap.  Half way up there was a beautiful long view through a large meadow.  A lake nestled at the upper end of this valley .  We had typical mountain weather. Periods of sun and clouds moved through creating dramatic light. 

Sunny patches moved across the mountain range making great shadow patterns… Minutes later we’d be socked in clouds… 

 The wind was fierce as the weather cleared so we drove our cars on to the edge of the meadow and set up behind them to keep our easels from blowing down. 

We sketched fast as the light was changing …

and the sun was setting !


Sketch ~ Cool Gray marker on 98 lb. paper.


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Real Lobstermen like Art

My friend Libby told me I had to go and paint up in Friendship, Maine.  Well, she is right.  Its a gorgeous place, a busy working year round harbor and the people you find there are gems.

These are photos from my scouting trip up there this spring.  The harbor is awesome. The bay is sprinkled with islands. I’m heading back up there to paint next week. I’ll post what it looks like in summer!


I invited my sister Marcia with me on this trip so she could see a bit of Maine off the beaten track.   Lib took us to all her favorite places.  We started with Martins Point. This worn out house with its freshly painted boat was a Maine classic.

This is the town dock. The gray building has a workshop in the back of it where someone is painting lobster buoys .  They hang from the rafters like icicles.

Meet Derek and Vincent.  They are lobstermen out of Friendship.  Derek owns a nice big lobster boat and offered to take me out for a trip to the islands for a 12 pack of beer.  These guys work very hard.


The place was packed with dories.
The wharves were lined up one after the other as far as you could see. The harbor was packed with working boats. A lot of people fish out of this port.
 Derek & Vincent liked my sketches.  They had an eye for art.  They jumped out of the truck to get a closer look at my sketchbook. They both knew Andrew Wyeth.They went to parties at his house and Derek took care of an island for him. They know everyone around there and on all the islands.  Derek informed us that Vincent in his younger years was famous for being a champion athlete – best in the State. Derek lives simply, he doesn’t have a computer or phone at his house.  He does have electricity, an alarm clock and a cell phone though.

I set up and sketched like mad before the sun set.  I loved this  lobster trap table I found – it was the perfect  height for me! I am looking forward to next week.
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Painting on the Run

I paint in oils …most of the time.  I used to paint in oils all of the time… until that trip when the weather was really, really bad and there was no place to set up out of the wind and rain.
I grabbed my camera took some photos then dug into my “car studio” and pulled out a sketchbook and some watercolor pencils.
 I designed my picture, put in the color notations with the pencils.
 …and when I got to a nice warm, dry, place I pulled out a brush & water and finished the pictures.  
Wow, I had something and it was my interpretation of that scene …not a photo. 
Soon it was sketching from a moving car (no I was not driving)and on the terrace of a mansion…
Here we are tucked in a corner with our paints out of the 30 mph winds. See we had it all to ourselves…on a calm day all the tables would be out , the umbrellas unfurled and the place packed with visitors. 
From the edge of a pasture at the William Cullen Bryant homestead…
And… sitting in the stands at a Yankees baseball game ! 
The whole world at any time and any place is now my subject –  !  
I got hooked on sketching and painting in the fast lane.
It has a nice influence on my oils and it is improving my drawing and  “seeing”, which in turn improves my painting.