I was finally able to get up to the Northeast Kingdom last week. Back in my studio painting and teaching, I'd been worried that autumn color had peaked up north, and leaves would be dried, brown, and mostly on the ground.
My painting series at the Johnson Farm is turning out to be very much about studying the color of its fields and wetlands as they transition through the seasons.
Though I'll have some painting time there next September, missing the height of fall foliage this year would have been a disappointment.
No need to worry! The drive up north was spectacular. Trees lining the road north were a brilliant tapestry of yellows, oranges and reds.
One early frost had killed all the corn since I'd been up last to work. Now there were acres of ochre yellow, rather than the sparkling emerald green hue I'd mixed on my palette to paint the shapes of corn fields.
Too bad for the farmer, as after that one frigid night, there had followed weeks of Indian summer.
As a gardener who had lost all her basil the same night, I could sympathize...
Warm, dry weather had drained the boggy area of the wetland. For the first time since visiting the property, I could walk on marsh grasses and not sink ankle-deep into mud.
I finally got close to the oxbow stream that before I could just glimpse as a silver sliver in the distance.
This wetland was set aside by the farmer and the Vermont Land Trust as a public conservation zone when the Johnson Farm was preserved from development in 2012. Biologists say that from an ecological angle, it's a very special place. I don't have the skills to read the plant and animal life here, but just by experiencing the wetlands with all my senses, I can enter into its complexity and beauty.