Views from the Top of Mt. Prospect

Last week I teased you with photographs of the scenes I painted from the Weeks State Park location but not the paintings I worked on there. This week I am making up for my laziness by posting those two paintings as well as two paintings that I started on location at the Bedford Farmers Market.

First, the painting above shows the view from the Weeks house toward Vermont, a northwesterly direction. One of the locals told me that the pond just visible was the Martin Meadow Pond, but I am sure he was wrong about that. My little sliver of a water feature does not even get named on Google maps, while the Martin Meadow Pond is much larger, and is visible from another break in the trees to my left. What attracted me to this view was the little taste of a vista, enclosed by the foreground of foliage. It was a difficult position to manage because I did not feel free to take up the whole path with my easel. That’s always a consideration for a plein air painter–keeping out of the way of the folk who are there for the same view you want to paint. From time to time, the park ranger would wander by to check on my progress. What he would see was pretty much a mess–big smears of muddy colors–until close to the finish, when I cleaned up the edges, hit the shapes with some brighter colors, and refined the details. When he arrived at that point, he was blown away–couldn’t believe it! “Wow!”

Wow is always a good word to use to compliment a painter.

The second Weeks painting was on a much larger panel, 20 x 16, I was already tired, and frankly a bit bored by my choice of subject matter–the tower. There was no reason to continue working on it at home, except that front page article in the Concord Monitor, posted in last week’s blog. So I worked on it yesterday:

On to the next subject–Farmers Market in Bedford. My friend and fellow painter, Suzanne Whittaker, lives in Bedford and was asked to be an attraction at the Market by painting there. She sets up a tent every Tuesday afternoon, 3 to 6, and paints a still life. Other artists join her when they can. My joining her depends on my getting the use of my car on a Tuesday afternoon, which so far I have been able to do twice. Instead of painting her still life, I try to paint a piece of the market scene. Of course, nobody stays motionless long enough for me to capture their image, but I can get the structures and add anonymous figures suggested by the real people. As you will see, I go for colorful stuff:

The Bread Seller, 14×11

The Apple Hill Stand

The guy in the baseball cap noticed me looking his way a lot, so he came over afterward to see what I was doing. Most of my admirers were the children. They always asked the price, bless their uninhibited souls. They always want to buy, and are so disappointed when they can’t afford the price. One of these days I may just bring paintings to give to them. Better than dying with hundreds of paintings that my children will have to dispose of.

Dogs are welcome at the Farmers Market, so I have been taking Justice with me. He is a shy dog, particularly fearful with new men. But he seemed to enjoy our first day at the market, and never barked once. Things were different last week. We were closer to the traffic, hence to the other dogs. But that wasn’t the worst of it. A drum circle came to use Sue’s tent about one hour before closing time. I couldn’t reposition myself at that point, two hours into my painting, so they closed in behind me. Poor Justice huddled under my chair for that hour, frantic to get away but pinned in place by the leash I had him on. So when Mr. Apple Hill came over to check us out, after the drumming had ceased, Justice greeted him like a long lost friend. So funny. So there are worse things than strange men. . . much worse! And then it got pretty good–the vendor next to us sells homemade gourmet treats for cats and dogs, and gave Justice her leftover samples to take home.

So far it is looking good for us to return to the Farmers Market in Bedford tomorrow–if you want to see us there, the Market is located just off Wallace Road in the Benedictine Park.