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