Friday, May 30, 2008

(38) Experimental Organic Tent

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper - $125

Click HERE to purchase a reprint or cards 

May 17, 2008. Sitting in the organic section of the orchard overlooking an experimental project to protect trees from insects. The wooden frame is draped with special cloth that will enclose the trees as opposed to spraying with pesticides. On each side are rows of newly planted saplings (“whips”).
Contrast was important with the folds of the cloth, the shaded grass and background trees.

(37) Curly Willow and Bloom

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper - $75

May 15, 2008, sitting by the office looking west. Three young curly willows overlook the orchard, lake and mountains just north of the office. In the background is the orchard in bloom. The bloom is an amazing time where the visual of what seems like endless blossoms competes with the sweet aroma of future fruit. While sitting in the orchard off and on over the previous several days, I deliberated on how to capture the white bloom with water colors. Capturing the many shades of white was daunting. When posing this dilemma to Cindy, she suggested doing so in an abstracted way, so, I chose to portray the multitude of white blossoms as light blue clusters.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

(36) Bee Hives 2

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper
Not for sale, click HERE for reprints and cards

Mid day just south of the Packing House on May 13th, 2008. The visiting bees (see Bee Hives 1) were hard at work pollinating the orchard in full bloom. The swarm was log jammed in front of each box as there was only one entrance (the small black holes). I tried to capture this swarm using tiny orange dots to represent the bees. My attempt was feeble and could not capture the sheer number of bees (multiply the painted dots ten-fold for a more accurate representation of the bee cloud).

(35) Bee Hives 1

11 x 14” watercolor and graphite on 300 pound cold press paper
Not for sale - click HERE for reprints or cards

Late afternoon on May 12th I sat up in the middle of the bloom near a bee stand. Due to a lack of native bees, Nick must truck in hives from Middlebury. The hives are stacked in three strategic areas around the orchard, this one was almost in the geographic center of the orchard.

I forgot my water color paint palette creating an anxious moment. Instead I sketched an outline of the painting and completed the work from memory at home. What started out as a mistake (forgetting my palette) turned out to be an opportunity to experiment with pencil and paint.

The view is looking south. A north wind blew over my head and created a natural highway for the bees as they flew back to the hives. It was amazing to have them fly so fast over head, a constant stream of traffic zooming back as their work day ended. The light was fading and I tried to capture the dusk with my pencil. During my sitting a jet flew across the sky leaving a gray trail that split the blue and the sun, a red tailed hawk circled occasionally - I captured both the jet trail and the hawk, a cool combination.

(33) In the Pink

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper - $125

The buds just opening on May 9. As the buds swell to open they show a little red color at the tip, hence the “pink”. This short time preceding the bloom is called “In the Pink”. The view is looking west from the run way about mid way down the run way. The Adirondacks and Lake Champlain can be seen through the branches. I decided to take Georgia with me, tying her to the leash, which she did not like. With her surgery recovery she cannot run loose. She tried to be patient, though in the end I needed to pull up stakes and finish the painting at the house.

(33) Elder Lady 2

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper - $125
Click HERE to purchase a reprint or cards 

May 2, 2008. Nick brought me out to the oldest part of the orchard just south of his and Cindy’s house. He estimated that these few trees will be 100 years old in 2010. This estimate was determined by counting the rings of a fallen tree from the same section. The trees were once numerous, now there is just a hand full in the orchard. Compared to the trees in other sections, these are huge with at least four major trunk sections.

The branches were still just sprouting leaves and the bark gave a reddish glow in the late afternoon sun. I did struggle to capture the light and contrast. In the background is the Gate House (home of Tom and Katra).

(32) Babies

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper - $75

May 1st around noon. A row of new trees just planted in the organic section. These are called “whips” as the new branches are pruned to force new growth into the root system … with no branches they resemble a whip. According to Nick each whip is 2-3 years old.

The view is facing southwest. I struggled laying down the paint with too much of my head (being too technical) in the painting and not enough feeling. Continued to experiment with larger areas of wash and few lines to represent the brush and trees of the background, though sometimes I felt the areas of wash were too expansive or that I used too many lines in the center of the background.

I was visited by several hopping insects and let them explore the canvas, another sign of spring. Did not bring Georgia as she is still recovering from her knee surgery, which may be one reason why I was not as present with my work at the time (many thoughts of Georgia being back at home, especially as she was with me most of the time last year).