Friday, September 30, 2011


For five years I painted outdoors. I didn't like painting in a studio.  

 I was so happy to be able to walk and hike and be out and about in natural places. I appreciated every minute of being in a wild place no matter how cold or warm it was.
Evening Lights Study, 8x16 oil

 In 1988 I was injured after being hit by a car while standing in a cross walk. For 10 years I was unable to walk for any length of time. A surgeon repaired my broken bones but the damage I sustained was extensive.   
Maine Field & Pine, 4x8 oil

I spent eight hours a day in physical therapy. I swam three miles a day to build up my endurance.  In 1998 I started practicing a spiritual cultivation practice called Falun Dafa. After practicing every morning for a couple of months all my injuries healed and I could run, jump and hike again! I had my health and life back!  It was great! 
Island Study, 6x12 oil

When I was in physical therapy all those years  I'd have visions of landscapes. When I started to paint again the first thing I painted were landscapes. 
Lake Night Study, 8x10 oil

 The first year that I painted outdoors I went once a week with a good friend.
Autumn Marsh Study, 8x10 oil 

Later that summer I traveled with my husband Marcus on his concert tours and brought my paints with me. I discovered that I really liked painting alone.
Three Bridges Study, 6x12 oil

 I soon went out to paint everyday. I loved to go on "painting wanders". I'd hop in the car and drive any where I felt like going.  
Red Sky Marsh Study, 8x16 oil

I'd see a spot, stop, park the car and paint. It was like being in heaven...healthy and free at last.  
Rockland LIghts Study, 8x16 oil

I know how lucky I am. 
Salt Bay Farm Study, 8x16 oil

Friday, September 23, 2011


In southwestern Vermont there are some really beautiful places to paint. 

Open meadows are plentiful because farmers have kept the land clear. You can see for miles and miles.  
Chickens, 6x8 oil

Meadowood Farm is a lovely place on the upper slopes of West Mountain in Shaftsbury, Vermont

Jane Ramsey and I were invited by Cliff and Donna the owners of Meadowood to paint on their property. 

Not only did they invite us to paint, but they insisted that we also come for breakfast.

They operate an elegant Bed & Breakfast inn at the farm.

We arrived at the house and were treated like royalty.

Jane immediately started sketching our breakfast. 

It was a 5 star breakfast cooked to order! It was so perfect and delicious it felt like a dream... we had to keep pinching ourselves.

After breakfast we were ready to paint ! The hen house seemed like a good place to start. The chickens were lively and friendly. 

I made a large variety of sketches.

The chickens never stopped moving; running around eating bugs and little things in  the grass.

We tried to gather them in one place so we could paint them.  Ha ! Ever hear of "herding chickens" ? 

Jane and I set up near the fence to paint them in the yard.

They promptly took off, jumping the fence and running all over the lawns and woods. 

Jane had some crackers in the car... so we tossed them bits... to tempt them to come back.

Some of them stuck around long enough for us to sketch and paint them.

We were working fast... it's difficult to paint chickens-in-motion. 

I  finally knew what "herding chickens" really means !
Chickens Too, 6x8 oil 

Soon Cliff came by with his bucket loader to carry our gear to our next painting location.

Jane and I walked down the stairs to the large open meadow below the house.

This farm is pristine. It has everything, a babbling brook, acres of hardwoods, open meadows and a river.

Cliff drove through the woods on a road he built down to the meadow. 

It was a perfect late summer day in Vermont... the Green Mountains were dusty blue in the distance.  

For the past two weeks Vermont had a ton of rain. Flooding was everywhere. Why was this meadow so perfect ? Cliff had built a berm at the top of the meadow where the river curved and he managed to keep it from flooding the meadow.

Is this man amazing or what ? The farm is a reflection of his care for the land...not to mention how thoughtful and kind he and his wife were towards us.  

Jane painted quickly with her watercolors.

The shadows steadily crept across the meadow.

We decided to call it a wrap. We were expected back at base camp, Taradin, for an art opening that evening. 

We packed our gear and Cliff drove it up the hill delivering it to our cars.  

The meadow was now all in shadow.  

The tops of the trees caught the last rays of the setting sun. It was the end of another perfect day on West Mountain in Vermont.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vermont ~ Farms, Mountains and Meadows

It rained and rained and rained in Vermont a week ago and the creeks and rivers went wild.  Roads, houses, trees and cows were swept away in the deluge.

A few places in Vermont were spared the flooding and destruction. North Bennington was one of them.  The 2nd Annual North Bennington Vermont Plein Air Competition went ahead as planned, on schedule.
 Farms, Rain and Mist Study, 6x12 oil

Artists arrived from distant corners of the country on Tuesday afternoon to meet on the beautiful grounds of Taraden.

Dave and his team of American Cream draft horses took the painters  on a nice slow tour through the center of North Bennington.

The Park-McCullough Estate is elegant. It has a gorgeous period carriage barn.  

Wildlife abounds in Vermont. Two moose were seen trampling across the grounds!

The variety of life in North Bennington is elegant, lovely, charming, gritty and authentic. Real Vermonters have storefronts in downtown. The small motor repair garage is a favorite spot to paint.

Heavy rain clouds hung around on our first day of painting.

It alternately drizzled and poured buckets for hours... not a chance of sunshine breaking through.  

Jane Ramsey and I went to the Park- McCullough Estate to paint under cover of the carriage barn.

The pastures and woodlands were filled with water.
Meadows in the Rain Study, 9x12, oil

All kinds of antique carriages were parked in the barn behind us.

Jane set up in a dry corner to paint a view of the gardens to the south. We painted under cover until the sky brightened.  

When the rain lightened to a drizzle we headed over to the Paran Stream in the center of town. We parked our cars near the river to paint in them if it started pouring again. Andrew set up next to me with plenty of waterproofing ! He was totally prepared for anything.

 A light rain started to fall... I was getting wet... my paints and canvas stayed dry in the car. 

I marked in the color notes on my painting as the clouds built up overhead and it started to rain steadily. It was calm, no winds, so we all could paint comfortably.

In a couple of hours the rain lightened and the storm moved out. The valleys made clouds that rose up into the sky.
Rain and Mist, 14x18, oil 

It looked like it might really stop raining.  We noticed bits of blue sky!

The next day brought clouds and sunshine so we headed out into the high hills of North Bennington and Shaftsbury. Andrew was our adventurous scout who could navigate to any hilltop we chose. 

We painted at a private farm and along the country roads.
Four Corners, 9x12, oil

Bruce painted larger canvases as the day went on.  He was having fun for sure!

So were the other happy campers! Andrew and Jane took a break after Jane arrived at our encampment with her watercolor of Four Corners.

Bruce picked up speed as he realized the clouds were moving back in changing the look of the landscape.

On my way home after painting all day I spotted the sunset behind some high meadows. I stopped to do a quick painting. All the meadows sloped down to a curving zig-zaging valley.
Meadow Sunset, 9x12 oil

The next morning the sun really came out and  it was gorgeous ... we needed our umbrellas for shade! Andrew, Hui Lai and I headed over to the quarry to paint in the morning.  Hui Lai used 2 umbrellas while painting in the quarry.  

Every day it got better. On Saturday Jane and I were invited to paint at Meadowood Farm where we  were treated like royalty and served a sumptous breakfast ... Jane sketched pictures of our colorful feast !

As we painted the sunshine returned to Vermont, the fields glimmered green and gold....

... the ridges of the Green and Taconic Mountains rose wild and blue in the distance. It was heavenly to be in Vermont painting the warm colors of early fall. 
The Quarry, 8x10 oil