Came across this scene several months ago, did a quick charcoal sketch, but only recently brought it to canvas. There is a time of day when light illuminates horizon and ridgelines as if under spotlights. I saw such light recently, and brought it to this piece. “Upland Meadow” 20 x 16

I’ve been working with a couple who recently moved north from South Carolina to Henniker, NH…a small, quaint college town about 40 minutes north of me. We are working on four pieces…two large works for dominant spaces within their new home, and two smaller accent pieces.

I rarely title pieces based on literal attributes about a scene, but I opted to do so with this piece. A scene close to their new home was spotted by the buyer, and after she sent a photo, I worked up a charcoal composition, which was well received…and proceeded to the finished piece, currently out on approval. “Henniker” 46 x 40

This recently completed commission is, in itself, a variation from another commission of the same subject/location. I’m not a fan of duplicating a piece, but do love the challenge of doing a variation on another piece, even if the differences are in scale and dimensions. This piece, “Distant Ridge” 40 x 30 is based on an earlier, more horizontal piece…both capturing a sense of serenity.

The pandemic has separated many of us from each other. People we used to get together with, we do so less often, if at all. We may live close to each other, work together, or bump into each other in town, but we are encouraged to keep a “safe distance” from each other. It’s an odd sense of isolation, as we know where our friends and family are…we know how to get to them, yet we’re encouraged not to do so. It’s as if we’ve all become outliers to each other. This rural scene reminded me of how this sense of isolation feels. We’re together, but we’re not. “Outliers” 48 x 24

I wrote yesterday about the neighboring development that converted many acres of pristine woods into a housing development. And while most of us lament the loss of land…including me, I can’t be too critical, as my house was, itself, was built on the land of the old Wilbert Parker Farm. My property is surrounded by old stone walls, and sits down a slight valley from the hill that is home to the old corn crib, a historic relic of the old farm. The corn stored in that crib was used to feed farm animals, including the many sheep that used to graze the meadow upon which my house now sits. The old farm is right across the street, a snowball’s throw away, and is surrounded by stone walls and meadows, much as it was over 100 years ago. “Sheep Meadow” 36 x 36

My house is surrounded by several hundred acres of woods, stone walls and old hiking trails. About 10 years ago, thirty acres were sold to a developer who proceeded to build a 40-home development. Before he did, they excavated the acreage, leveling most of the trees to prepare the building lots. I imagine he looked over his newly cleared land, thinking of what he would call his new neighborhood. I heard once that developers often name their neighborhoods after things that were once there…”Deer Path” or “Highland Woods” etc. This developer must have found his newly felled trees to be inspiration enough…and the place became The Fells.

My property abuts the edge of this development…and on a recent walk down one of the old trails, I came across these trees and loved the contrast between the dark, shady woods-floor foreground against the bright blast of lime/orange treeline behind the neighboring farm. “The Fells” 30 x 40

When my mother was a kid, she summered with her family on an old farm in Bradford, New Hampshire. It was a place my grandfather bought to escape the family from the busy North Shore Boston suburb of Beverly. I remember my mom, years ago, recounting how her brothers were tasked one summer to dig a pond, which they did apparently, by hand. Whether they dug one from scratch, or expanded on an existing body of water I don’t know, but the purpose wasn’t for swimming or fishing, but rather to be self-sufficient in case of a fire.

This place is less than a mile from my house, and coming across it the other day on a bike ride, it reminded me of “the farm”…my mom’s old country retreat. “Fire Pond” 36 x 36

I’ve always loved exploring abandoned places…old farms, barns, an empty house I found tucked in the woods near my childhood home, a deserted hotel in Vermont, and even a long-abandoned military base on Cape Cod. The lure of these places are their entrances…open doors filled with the blackness of the interior, and whatever might be in there. These places were, to me, like caves, waiting to be explored. Coming across any abandoned structure, with a dark but inviting way in, was exciting and a bit scary, as you never knew what you’d find once you entered those caverns. “Cavern” 24 x 24.

No matter where I’ve lived over the years, apple trees always seem to be part of the landscape. An older orchard made up the predominant landscape of the main lawn of the private school I grew up in, and the silhouette of one of those trees became the logo of a company I once worked for. Years later, the old pasture behind my current home came complete with a grove of old apple trees, several of which have since succumbed to age and weather.

So, having come across this setting en route to Woodstock, Vermont, a few years back, the trees were a draw. I’ve painted this scene before, several times, but in each, the trees were secondary characters…but in this, I hoped to give them a more central role. “Orchard” 48 x 30

Revisited a scene encountered in the Berkshires years ago. Outside of Lenox, tucked in a valley between two hills, this old place stood firmly grounded in the slope, with remnants of an old sheep fence. The light was muted in the distance on that warm September day, as the heat sunk between the hills. “Between the Hills” 36 x 48

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