Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Is It About A Mountain?

This morning I woke up with my head in the clouds. Well, maybe not literally, since I live in what's known as Woodstock Valley Connecticut, but figuratively speaking, my mind was thinking about mountains.

Today Pam and I will do all the final preparations of getting things ready for our kick-off in Stowe Vermont on Friday afternoon. Yup, we are headed back to Mount Mansfield. We both need to sign a few of the paintings we are bringing with us and we our both even trying to finish one more painting each before we hit the road. Photographing artwork before it leaves the studio is always a must, so we have that to do today too along with varnishing, framing and packing up the paintings and a suitcase of belongings. Add to that, getting things together for our Nx Stage Cycler and Pure Flow System and I will cannulate Pam's fistula and then we can dialyze her for about 3 hours of this glorious sun filled day. Finding a way to fit eveything into this day is going to be tricky. Especially with my head already in the clouds...

Part of the Lamoille County, Mount Mansfield rises 4393 feet into the air and attracts people to it for all sorts of reasons. This is big skiing country, but for a couple of painters, it is simply a thing to look at with awe and fascination and then make an attempt to capture some part of its majesty on canvas.

With my mind thinking about Vermont, I'm reminded about the town of Jeffersonville on the other side of Stowe. This is where painters like Emile Gruppe and Aldro T Hibbard spent a great deal of their time painting the winter landscape. One of my first real painting trips to Vermont was to Jeffersonville. I made a trip with my friend and mentor, George Carpenter and we spent a week painting all around that area. This is going back over twenty years! I knew right away as we drove thru Smugglers Notch and down into Jeffersonville, that I would be back many times to paint this big and beautiful countryside. George would tell me stories about Gruppe, who was a friend of his and I would also hear a great deal about Tommy Curtin and lots of other painters. Once when we were there, we met up with Paul Strisk and a group of Rockport painters and we spent some time painting with them, dining with them and even celebrating Alden Bryan's birthday with a little dinner party after a full day of painting. These were exciting moments for a young artist in his twenties. They are memories that I look back on very fondly.

Many times since then, Pam and I have indeed been back to paint around Stowe, around Jeffersonville and the different parts of Lamoille County, so going back there as part of the 'Paint New England' project was like going back to visit an old friend. I could go on and on about the fascination that Pam and I both share about this part of New England. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it will take up most of my thinking moments during the day today!

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