Friday, November 26, 2010

Big Wind on Bailey's Island

My friend Jane Ramsey arrived a few days ago for her first visit to Maine.  Where do you take someone who has never been to Maine?   We had only 4 days. I tried my best. 
 Everyday we painted at 2 different locations.  Every night we returned to base camp at my house on the southern seacoast. We headed out early and painted till dark. We painted marshes, harbors, fish shacks, historic neighborhoods, rocky coastline and big weather.  Mackerel Cove on Bailey's Island is a favorite spot of mine. There's this little tiny house on the edge of the cove that is a perfect summer getaway.

Its right on the the beach. The full moon high tide left seaweed tracks up on the front lawn. 

The fishermen pull their boats out of the water and park them on the edge of the beach  at this time of the year.  The weather is getting too rough for the small boats. 

The wind was so strong this day the lobster boats hadn't gone out.  If you got behind a pile of traps you could paint, there was no wind!   Strange... you could hear the wind whistle through them.

The 2 sides of the house away from the water still had paint on the shingles.  If you live on the water you have to paint the ocean side of the house often, the weather just wears it out. 

The wind got stronger. This was Marcus' first time out painting in high wind conditions.  He had to set up and sketch behind the open the car door the wind was so strong.   

The owner of these dories came by and told me how he used them to fish for herring in the coves.  These boats are huge. The look like the dories in Winslow Homer's paintings ! A company in Rockland Maine makes them out of fiberglass.  

Jane and I were set up behind our cars.  The wind was blowing at least 30 - 40 mph. We were fine if we stayed in our 4 ft wind free area. 

The weathered shingles....

The temperature started to drop after lunch.  Jane was working in watercolors, I was painting with oils. Her paints began to freeze. She took out hand warmers and placed them under her palette to thaw them out... it worked. 

I'm laying in my sketch of the house. I have ear warmers on under my sun hat...I'm warm and cozy... 

The rough sketch in burnt sienna...  

The wind started changing direction.  I was laying in color, the light was changing fast and I was not about to stop.  I had to grab my easel when a gust hit it. 

Marcus went out on the beach to sketch a good view of the dories.

The front came plowing through, we finished our paintings and headed over to lands end for sunset sketches. So much to paint and so little time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vermont Cow Portraits

I parked the car at the edge of the field.  As I began to set up the entire herd ran toward me.  Did my Easy L look and sound like their feed box ?

I'm glad there was a fence and a ditch in between us...

They stayed all lined up in a row looking at me... 

sniffing and snuffling a bit, but not wandering off.

 I started talking to them... 

...telling them to stick around till I finished.

They did pretty well, even with the occasional car passing. 

It was great entertainment for the neighbors and I could barely stop laughing. 

Then of course there was the "great noble one".

Who wanted me to paint him all alone.

He parked himself right in front of me and held the pose.

I worked as fast as I  could. 

The entire herd was young males.  They had these big tufts of spiky hair on their heads. I found out later they are a hardy breed of cattle from Scotland known as Ayrshires. 

Soon they all wandered off. 

And I called it a day.
For more Paintings & Sketches  ~ Paint Eat Sleep

Friday, November 12, 2010

Farm Country

 Southern Vermont has small country roads that wind back and forth through meadows and forests along the Vermont /New York border. 

The only way you can tell if you are in a different state is by the surface of the road.  One minute they are paved the next they are dirt.  

One farmhouse was in Vermont, the barn was in New York.

 Burgess Road, just over the border in New York is a great, quiet spot to paint .  Clouds created light and dark patterns all day.
The hedgerow silhouetted against the sky caught my eye.   Hedgerow, 8x10 oil sketch. 

The farm behind me was a gem.

It was high up on a hill with huge open fields, old trees and views of the mountains in every direction.

The owner and his son stopped by to visit me. He invited me to go up to the top of his field and paint the view. It was gorgeous up there.   Silos and Cows, 6x12, watercolor on Rives BFK.

The farm had an old red barn across the road from a new barn with a pair of navy blue silos.  Pastures on both sides of the road had cows wandering across them.

This place was sublime, with a painting each time you turned around.
Burt's Farm, 8x12, watercolor on Rives BFK.
For more Paintings & sketches ~ Paint Eat Sleep  

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Quiet Corner of Vermont

  Every fall I go on a painting trip in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts and southern Vermont.  
  Late one afternoon I found myself exploring the countryside north of Bennington.  The rolling hills, open meadows, bits of autumn color and 70 degree temperatures created a mellow mood.  

 While looking for a place to park I spotted a a small, side road with a red covered bridge over a river with the Dutch sounding name "Battenkill". 

A white grange hall was next to the bridge. It looked like a church. The trees on the hill behind it were turning orange.  The setting sun was golden.  It was a perfect Vermont scene. 

A white farm house sat nestled in the valley across from the grange with an artists studio behind it. It seemed familiar.  "That's Norman Rockwell's house!" I said.  I remembered the studio from a picture I'd seen of it in a book.  Sure enough, when I backed up to get a better look there was a sign on the front lawn indicating that Mr. Rockwell had lived and worked there. 
I knew he lived in Vermont but didn't remember the name of the town. This was the first time I'd visited this quiet little corner of the state.  What a surprise and delight! 

Vermont is full of treasures you never know what you'll find here!
Twin Maples Barn, 6x12 watercolor, Rives BFK 
More paintings & sketches at Paint Eat Sleep