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Just Us Chickens

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These chickens were having a good time running around in the warm sunshine finding bugs in the grass. Ah, there is nothing like the good life on a farm in Vermont. 
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Vermont Grazing

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These cows were in North Bennington. Vermont cows are the best. Maybe its because there are more cows than people? I don’t know if that is true anymore. The small dairy farms are disappearing. Support our small farms! Eat local! 

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North Bennington, Vermont

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The pastures are open and the views are endless in this south west corner of Vermont.  On  one farm I drive across the field to the top of the hill and see rolling hills and farms in every direction. 

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Vermont Cows and Barns

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Every year I make several painting trips to Vermont. I found this farm in North Bennington, VT on the NY border.  The owner lets me drive up into his high open pastures to paint. The views are magnificent.  

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The White River Rochester, VT

The White River starts some where up in the Brandon Gap of the Green Mountains and rushes down the mountains to Rochester, VT where it winds its way east through the valleys to White River Junction, VT and the Connecticut River.  The river curves right up against the fields at Liberty Hill Farm.  

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Liberty Hill Farm Rochester, VT

Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, VT is a beautiful old farm tucked into the east side of the Green Mountains. Bob and Beth run this dairy farm and B&B. It was hit hard by Hurricane Irene but like true Vermonters they bounced back and are in top form.

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Painting While Driving

Drawing and painting landscapes in a moving car is a challenge and quite fun. 
Snow,Rocks & Trees Watercolor Sketchbook
The view is right there in front of you for a few seconds then… zip its gone !
When I drove from the Maine coast into the White mountains of New Hampshire the other day I encountered a variety of weather along the way. It was raining along the seacoast. I settled into the passenger seat and organized my materials.
My carefully chosen weapons for the battle… an ink pen, mechanical pencil and 98 pound multimedia sketchbook paper.
Sturdy Pines Watercolor Sketchbook

I have a method for sketching from a moving vehicle. I stare hard at the subject, remember what I saw and sketch very fast. Its an excellent memory exercise.

I placed my sketchbook on my lap, unpacked my small watercolor set and my lightning-fast Niji water brush. This water brush is the best thing for fast painting in tight quarters. 
Snowy fields Watercolor Sketchbook
It helps when you need to mix colors rapidly. You just squeeze water through the brush tip to clean it. You don’t need a jar of water handy to clean the brush, which could be a problem in a bumpy car ride on uneven road surfaces.

The weather was fierce. It rained, sleeted and ice froze across the windshield as we drove north. The heat turned up high melted the ice off the windshield. The higher we climbed into the mountains of New Hampshire the colder and icier it got.
Boreal Forest Watercolor Sketchbook
When we crossed the high ridge of mountains in the middle of the state and started driving down into the valley toward Vermont and the Connecticut River the freezing rain turned to rain.
It was 10 degrees warmer in the river valley.
The White River Watercolor Sketchbook
The White River meets the Connecticut River at White River Junction, Vermont. After the big floods Vermont had last August the White River has a number of sand bars and a newly shaped river bed.

Road into the Mountains Watercolor Sketchbook

The precipitation stopped completely in Vermont. Low clouds were tearing across the mountain tops and sky holes made it brighter. 

It was easy to sketch the view. I just kept looking and moving my hand at the same time. Painting in colors was more difficult. I could only get one good look at the colors of a specific location, then in seconds it was gone.
Snowy Rocks and Pines Watercolor Sketchbook
There was more snow in Vermont than any where else we drove through, especially on the high ridges.
It was a blue, violet and slate gray day. The trees were dark mauve and deep blue against the distant snow fields.

Whaleback Mountain Watercolor Sketchbook
Everything was looking very dramatic.

The dark bottomed clouds and dark trees made the snow look whiter than ever. The snow covered ground was the brightest spot in the landscape.
The Tree line Watercolor Sketchbook
Winter is the best time to paint out doors. The contrast and shapes are wonderful!
Each open area that was edged with trees has a different look and feeling.

Snowy Ledges Watercolor Sketchbook
A mundane location that you would never look at in the summertime all of the sudden has dramatic shapes and colors. 

Farms & Snow Fields Watercolor Sketchbook
In hilly and mountainous areas the white snow covered fields created a patchwork of pines and hardwoods.
In this winter wonderland a simple red brick building became a warm spot of color in the cool white and blue landscape.

Road on the Ridge Watercolor Sketchbook
As the afternoon moved toward sunset the dark violet blue mountains were a deep cool contrast against the nearby green pine forest.
It reminded me that it doesn’t have to be a sunny day to be beautiful. 
The Connecticut River at Hanover Watercolor Sketchbook
Days like this have a peaceful quiet mood and subtle rich colors that are very satisfying to see. 
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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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"The Moods of Nature" in Stowe, Vermont

This weekend I have a show opening at Galleria Fine Arte’ in Stowe, Vermont.

I’ve been working for weeks selecting and finishing paintings for this show. 
Dusk 11×14 oil

I looked through my plein air work and chose ones that fit the theme of the show.
Afterglow 11×14 oil

I added finishing touches to some of them, while others were ready to varnish.
Moonrise 16×8 oil

I wanted to show a variety of seasons and landscapes.
After the Snow 12×16 oil

 I noticed a lot of water images in this group of paintings .
Red Sky 8×16 oil

I painted some of them along the Maine seacoast and others in the mountains of New Hampshire.
Reflection 24×24 oil

One was painted in a meadow very close to where I live.
Winter Walk 12×16 oil

Another on a deep ocean bay just a few towns away.
Safe Haven 28×38 oil 

I also noticed that I really like capturing reflections…and moods. Twilight is becoming a favorite time for me to paint.  
Twilight 11×14 oil

I’ve never been a big fan of painting buildings. I noticed at night they change into something else. Their boxy shapes merge into the landscape and their lit windows are beacons. Their reflections transport them into another world.
Cabin Glow 8×10 oil

It is this other world that I am interested in.   
Reflection Study 11×14 oil

This desire to paint nocturnes arises from a childhood memory.  I was six years old the first summer I went cat fishing at night.  It was magical being out in a row boat on a pond in the dark. The stars twinkled on the surface of the water.  Farm lights glowed in the distance. It was only when you hooked a fish and hauled it up in the beam of the flashlight did you remember that you were floating on deep water. 
Quiet Cove 8×10 oil

“Day and Night: The Moods of Nature,” a collection of new paintings of peaceful, luminous New England landscapes, by Mary Byrom , opens on Friday, Dec. 9, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Galleria Fine Arte, 6 Sunset St., Stowe. 

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Stowe, Vermont ~ Mountains, Valleys and Farms

Bright colors are beginning to show up in the hills of Vermont.

I was in Stowe last week painting in a plein air event during Stowe’s Octoberfest.
 Autumn Mist, 6×8 oil on panel

I stayed in a lovely 200 year old house deep in the woods on the eastern slope of Mount Mansfield.

The house was moved in pieces from China, Maine….  to this present location in Stowe. The barn was moved here from a nearby Vermont town.

The trees in the yard were turning lovely colors.

The barn has a slate roof with moss growing all over it . It was built in 1837.
I set out to paint on my first day in gray weather. Vermont is still getting more than its fair share of rain.

The four days  I was there were rainy, sunny, cloudy, rainy.

Even on overcast days the barn roofs were a shiny silver color.

The meadows and cornfields had the golden tawny colors of early autumn. 
With dark skies the meadows and farms were bright spots in the landscape. 

The valley below Mount Mansfield still has a few working farms… 

…though it isn’t unusual to see huge barns unpainted and looking forlorn. 
My hosts Lyndall and Scott gave me a map of some great places to paint in Stowe.
The variety was endless… it reminded me of my painting trips in Idaho and Wyoming.
As the rain clouds cleared out I set up to work.
I sketched a view of barns and mountains.
The light changed constantly. Big puffy clouds swept across the brilliant blue sky.

Cloud shadows drifted across the hills and valleys. 
I sketched my design and started putting in colors…
while watching the light change…
…and painting the patterns of dark and light.

This one was a wrap and …

…there was still some sunshine…
…and time to get in one more painting before sunset.

 The clouds were building in the west.
It was looking like more gray weather.
Sure enough, early the next morning… 

It was raining steadily.
Stowe has lots of hiking and walking trails.  

I painted at an entrance to one that was named  “The Quiet Path”.
My painting stayed dry under the hatchback of my car. The temperature dropped. It got cold.  It was a perfect day for wool sweaters, hot coffee and hot chocolate. 
The sun never came back during the rest of my stay…but at least it stopped pouring. 
On my last day I wandered over to the property of the Von Trapps (of “Sound of Music” fame) to sketch and paint along the quiet dirt roads.
In the middle of their cow pasture a vivid red maple caught my eye.
These cattle are a long haired Scottish breed… and very feisty.
A bull actually jumped the fence into the road where I was painting. 
He ignored me, and I didn’t pay any attention to him and kept painting.
A friendly Vermonter stopped by to see what I was painting. He told me the bull had jumped the fence twice that morning. He did it all the time. 
Autumn Sonata,  9×12 oil on panel