Painting #17 of 50: "Mansfield Sky"

Thursday, April 4, 2013: Finally painting this view of Mansfield directly after a great demo by Anneline Beaukencamp at the Essex Art League's monthly meeting. Sunny with temperatures around 50 degrees F with a bit of wind and I was all inspired by Anneline's enthusiastic demo, so I decided to go for a larger size. Favorite quote of the day from Anneline: "I try not to think too much when I paint." I couldn't agree more! If I think too much, it seems to slow me down and block the creative energy. Must be that she's an intuitive painter, too. I had fun staying loose, enjoying the process. Mansfield still had snow on it and the sky was lovely, so I chose a lower horizon to emphasize the mountain meeting the sky.

Painting #16 of 50: "March Homestead"

Friday, March 29, 2013: It was one of those strange weather days full of change, spitting rain and sleet on and off throughout the day. Temperatures 38 degrees - 47 degrees F. Thought I'd be painting the view of Mansfield from Essex Way exit off 289 BUT the mountain was totally obscured by clouds, so I quickly veered off to Ethan Allen Homestead to regroup. Walked around the property and settled on a different view of the homestead from the side, with locust trees, fences, and field. Loved the bright yellow-green of the field by the homestead, so quinacridone gold worked beautifully! I had a large black plastic garbage bag which I clipped onto the top of the easel and rigged up a quick sort of awning so the rain wouldn't get on my painting. That system worked pretty well, though I constantly was clipping and unclipping it as the rain and sleet started and stopped so often. A few bits of sleet/rain hit my painting, leaving some white specks to give clue of the weather!

Painting #15 of 50: "The Farmhouse"

Saturday, March 23, 2013: Today was Lisa Beach's winter landscape watercolor workshop, and since it was indoors, I had brought along quite a few photos as possible subjects. With the Blakely Farm still fresh in my mind from two days ago, however, I decided to do a second Blakely painting. Not quite plein air, but fairly close. This time I went for a more abstracted approach, concentrating on the farmhouse, barn and smaller outbuildings, without any trees or stump fence. While painting, Lisa reminded me to make a decision: would my painting be predominantly architectural strokes or curving softer brush strokes? I went for the architectural. Several weeks later, Dad suggested either cropping the foreground or adding in some elements to make that part of the composition more interesting. Ultimately decided to add some salt to the foreground along with some diagonal strokes of shading to lead the eye into the painting, which resolved the issue.

Painting #14 of 50: "Stump Fence at the Blakely Farm"

Thursday, March 21, 2013: I started noticing this farm as I traveled Blakely Road in Colchester this winter and finally mustered up the courage to knock on the door and ask if I could paint on their land. A smiling woman invited me in and introduced herself as the 4th generation of Blakelys to live on their family farm, for whom Blakely Road was named. After a lengthy conversation, she suggested I come back soon to paint. A big snowstorm transformed the landscape from spring grasses to winter once again, so the farm looked quite different when I returned to paint. Mary and Jacquie joined me, with some of us strapping on snowshoes. The snow was about 8" deep. Temp was about 37 degrees F in the sun, with wind S/SW at 11 mph. I thought I'd be peeling off layers of clothes, but as time went on, the shadows cast by the trees kept me much chillier than expected. Mary and Jacquie had no such problems as they had set up in full sun at the crest of the hill. Fortunately my painting came together quite rapidly. 

I had gravitated to the view of the large barn through the trees with their long shadows cast across the snow and the unique stump fence leading the eye up to the barn. The stumps were from ancient White Pines dating back to the late 1890s, uprooted by oxen. Hard to have this stump fence recognizable as such in my painting, since few people have actually seen one.

Painting #13 of 50: "Snow in the Mountains"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013: The day started off with uncertainty. Folks couldn't paint with me and the mountains were completely socked in with clouds. I already had the car packed, though, so decided to meet Louanne in Jericho at the Raceway Rd church parking lot to at least check out the site. Things didn't look promising upon arrival, but suddenly, clouds starting lifting! Out came the easel and paints quick and Louanne set up to sketch. Temp was about 40 degrees F with no wind initially.

I used the long horizontal format and focused on the forehead of Mt. Mansfield and the mountains to the south, with South Hill in front, to the right. I chose to paint the barn on the right side, but not to include any of the houses in the mid-ground. I was definitely drawn to the yellows, greens and ochres in the foreground. I love that variation in color found in late fall and early spring.

Welcome to Libby Davidson's Painting Blog

I am currently entering blogs from my 50 Project back in 2013-2014 as a way of sharing photos and journal entries of my plein air watercolor painting experiences. Lots of stories in the field through all seasons and all sorts of weather here in Vermont beyond. Hoping to get caught up to share more recent paintings.

If you have interest in viewing or purchasing my paintings, please email or call me. I plan to add a gallery section to this site soon to make it easier for you to see the many paintings I have available for sale.

Thank you!

Libby Davidson

libby@starflowerstudio.com