Landscape artists complain a lot about the overwhelming greenness of the summertime landscape, and I am no exception. There are many strategies for avoiding the Green. Paint seascapes. Paint buildings. Paint flower gardens. When all else fails, “step on” the green of your palette with some red paint. That last is hard to do when the landscape virtually pulses with bright greens,and you’ll never notice a bright green in an the old master’s landscape.
Vermont is not for nothing known as the Green Mountain State. Vermont is where I was last weekend. St. Johnsbury, Newbury, Bradford. Even across the River into Haverhilll and Piedmont, New Hampshire. the greens dominated. I found I lacked the discipline needed to “step on” my greens. So if you are going to enjoy the paintings I came home with, you gotta love Green.
First was Friday’s take on farm road behind the Four Corners Farmstead, where we loaded up with salad makings for the weekend. Just to set the mood, here is a shot of one display in the Farmstand.
Instead of painting that bounty, however, we three all chose a version of the hill and road behind the farmstand. (Three is myself plus Sharon Allen and Betty Brown–we met up at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and caravanned in two cars down Route 5 to Newbury, then Bradford.) While we were painting our bucolic road up the hill, it became time for the cows to come home. They moved from the left, down the hill, across the road, into the meadow on the right and in a line, to a barn way off our picture planes. Sharon snapped photos to serve as references. I smeared some cow color and shapes onto my path and hoped they would translate “Cow” to the viewer.
But what you see is a later version. The next day, with a little time left at our Saturday venue, I tried to improve on the cows. From my memory of cows. Squarish bodies, small triangular heads. How much leg? Do they have ears? After messing with it, I put the panel away in a RayMar carrier, unaware that somehow I had a) dropped a glob of white paint in the middle and b) inserted it wet side to another painting, instead of wet side to the air. What you see now is the result of rescue attempts made last night. I had by then a better idea of w hat a cow looks like, thanks to the last painting below.
We were staying with artist Nancy Griswold, at her home in Bradford, Vermont. Saturday all of us spent the day at the home of another Vt. painter– Robert Chapla. We were there last year too, see this blog, in which I talk about Robert’s place. Here is a picture of my easel with two paintings going at the same time. The background shows what I was looking at.
Although both paintings had significant focal points that were decidedly not green, I felt like the green was out of control.
Neither of these photos do justice to the intensity of the greens.
Finally, on Sunday, we went exploring the other side of the Connecticut River, where Nancy had scoped out a spot where we could get cows against the backdrop of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It turned out that, at the farm she had staked out, the corn had grown too high to see over! So we reverted to a farm Sharon and I had seen the night before when we were searching up and down Route 10 for a gas station at NH prices. The Winsome Farm in Piermont had cows and a view of the Connecticut River. Nancy and Betty, certifiable vista painters, painted in the fields with the river view, while Sharon and I went down the road to get up close and personal with a few cows.
Sharon says these are Guernsey cows. I could not verify that. In fact, I could not find cows like these on the internet. They have a cute topknot, reminiscent of a Mohawk cut. Cows don’t move a lot, but they do change positions. Standing one minute, then lying down for an hour. So I wasted no time getting the cow shapes onto my panel. After having studied these two, I was better equipped to fudge the cows in the first painting.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
with the East Colony artists for the rest of July at 163 (167) Water Street, Exeter, NH; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the Firefly American Bistro on 22 Concord Street, Manchester (reception August 3–5:30 to 7:30–all are welcome); and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases and the like at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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