Color Shift

I never quite know what I'll find at the end of my two hour drive up to the Johnson Farm. How high will the corn be, what new wildflowers will be blooming in the meadows, will that same white egret be hanging around the wetland?

When I arrived with my paints in late August, the corn was tall and lush, an electric green. But the grass in the wetlands was beginning to push into ochre and pale red, and here and there a maple showed a warmer tinge--the first sign of summer's turning

12" x 12", oil on panel

I noted in my sketchbook the changes I was seeing.

Click sketchbook pages to enlarge

And tried to get down the shifting color of a little maple, half-hidden behind goldenrod and Joe Pye weed.

12" x 12", oil on linen panel

I walked down a track into a "Fish and Wildlife" managed natural area that abutted a cornfield, and saw another color shift. The fields were turning to lemon and mauve, and the hills to a deeper shade of blue.

The last few visits to the farm I'd been searching for a subject for a larger painting, a motif that could say something about how summer feels in this place where natural and cultivated land coexist.

What i was now looking at--meadows and cornfields, hedgerows and distant mountains, an endless variety of green, and unexpected accents of yellow and pink--seemed like a possibility.

Meanwhile Roscoe the lab waited patiently while I painted, knowing he'd be rewarded by a swim when we returned to our campsite at Maidstone State Park.

September was busy with teaching and working in my studio for a gallery exhibit, so I've been away from the farm for a few weeks. Finally tomorrow morning I'm heading back up to the Northeast Kingdom to paint. I wonder what I'll see when I arrive. Hopefully the autumn leaves will still be on the trees there, and I'll see another color shift. I have a large canvas packed in the car, ready for whatever I find.