Tuesday, June 16, 2009

61) Rolling on the Deck

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper
Not For Sale, 
click HERE to purchase reprints or cards

On an early Sunday evening late in May I settled down to paint the front porch of the orchard store, “Cider House Farm Market”. I was drawn to the trees for sale, the older “balled” trees (left hand side) and the babies or whips potted in large black plastic containers (right hand side held in apple crates). Equally, I found the contrast between the red siding of the store and the flanked spray of greens of visual interest.

Shortly after starting this work Nick arrived with Kevin Clayton and Peter Swift, the trio known as the “Meat Packers” for a practice session on the porch. I smiled as renditions of “Wagon Wheel” by the Old Crow Medicine Show wove through the air, amazingly I heard the song for the first time the night before while driving home … somewhere between “déjà vus” and serendipity!

Look closely and you can see Nick on mandolin, Kevin on guitar behind the second post and Peter on base obscured between the young burlap clad trees. They graced the orchard store and those fortunate enough to pass through the orchard gates as dusk arrived.

60) Bee Hives, Wind Sock and Bloom

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

The orchard inspired me to rise early in hopes of capturing the eastern sun. The day was bright on this mid May morning during the height of the bloom. I set up on the runway just south of the wind sock whose multicolored tail hung motionless with the still cool air. Just south stood stacks of bee hives. These guests had yet to start their daily work in earnest. I stood behind them at one point and leaned carefully forward with my ear an inch from the wooden backing, I heard a low hum resonating from over 50,000 bees per hive … what an awesome sound and feeling! It is a sad sign of the times when there are insufficient numbers of bees to pollinate the orchard, which is why Nick brings in these hives during the bloom.

The sun drenched the dull colors of the hives while the blossoms exploded from the dark branches. Both the ground and sky brought about contrasting blues, yellows and greens.

Monday, June 15, 2009

59) Liberty Bloom

11 x 14” watercolor on 300 pound cold press paper
Sold, click HERE for reprints and cards

Early May in the north western most corner of the orchard. Here are the Liberties, a variety that Nick has committed to growing organically. As I spend more time at the orchard I learn more about the multitude of varieties. The Liberty bears lovely yellow fruit with red stripes. It is a hardy apple and considered one of the more disease resistant apples (to learn more visit The Backyard Gardener).

Although the sky was without clouds, the late afternoon was cool. With such a dry spring the bloom has been wonderful, though some trees are late (as with the tree on the left) … “late bloomers”. One of my favorite times to paint is 2 - 3 hours before sunset, as was this day. The late afternoon sun kissed the bark on each tree in a unique way. One of the two tress displayed a rose pink bark and the other a golden yellow. The blossoms that once had inhaling the blue tint of the sky, suddenly took on a shade of crimson. I am overwhelmed at times in how the landscape can suddenly morph from one set of hues to another, sometimes subtle and other times stark. It was challenging attempting to capture the movement of colors while time was fleeting.

The background was interesting with the tilled soil radiating warm shades of orange, dancing with the complementary blue above, and the lime green grass slicing between the upturned earth and the far away blur of trees. I labored with sections of this work, leading to over painting, though the vitality of the two Liberty trees made for a happy ending.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

58) Harvest Gold

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

Just a day before Halloween another warm and dry autumn day. The foliage is stunning throughout Vermont with red and orange maples or yellow birch, yet the most amazing site of the season was sitting in the orchard surrounded by what Cindy called the “Harvest Gold”. Thousands of apple trees all turned to a gold tinged with crimson, woven round blue and purple branches. Even the willows competed with warm waves of yellow and rose. The green grass seemed so vibrant with shocks of sumac red, delivering a complementary visual jab. Clouds spun between a purple and aquamarine sky.

Last year I missed this time at the orchard, I had thought I had seen every transformation of this space. As in life, I was humbled at the realization that I should never assume that I have “seen everything”, and so art was a wonderful teacher. Sitting just below the Packing House looking east I tried to capture the bounty of colors and tones. The playing of light was just as magical as the wide palette. Overwhelming and yet such a find for the last water color painting of the autumn.