Last weekend I made a round-trip to Enosburg Falls on each of two days. Since I was not driving, I was free to soak in the passing scenes. I was struck by the incredible splendor of the roadsides in bloom. The greenery of the road edges was diapered with tiny bits of white, yellow, and lavender, showing off against the backdrop of the greens of corn or hay. The variegated clouds in the sky made the colors seem even brighter.
Splendors in the Grass - 4" x 6" - Acrylic on paper.
In an earlier post I included images of the old peach apple tree at the end of my house. It was described there as being a source for my "painted tree".
Because it has been so enduring, I owe it a showing of its June glory and a little story of its past integration into my life:
When I was a child, this old tree provided my little second cousin and myself a supply of ammunition as I taught him to throw apples on a stick--likely now a moribund Vermont pastime for children. (My mother did this as a child, and taught me, under the same tree.)
For those of you unfamiliar with this skill, you sharpen the end of a stiff stick with your jack knife, pick up a downer and skewer it with the stick. You then haul the stick as far behind you as your arm will reach an launch the apple into the air, achieving a much greater distance than you could with your small arm alone. (Incidentally, as I think about it now, we were no doubt providing lagniappe for the deer that wandered through the meadow where our missiles landed.)
. . . the biggest $3 I've ever received in my life.
Which now results in a long post with no pictures:
In yesterday's mail was a notice that said a small exhibition where I was going to show my paintings for the first time (end of July) was canceled because there was not enough interest from other artists in participating. That had been a major iron in the fire for me and now it was gone. I sunk myself into the couch and, thoroughly depressed, ended up in a hour-long nap.
A few hours after this, I went in to St. Albans to tend the STAART gallery from 4-6 because my friend Ellen had a gig in Greensboro so she couldn't finish her whole gallery stint.
It was pouring down rain there and I was settling in for a quiet two hours of mucking about with watercolor when a whole herd of folks walked in -- 4 adults in the 25-35 something range with a baby, and two older adults.
They meandered and then the older couple (from Boston) stopped at the counter where my stuff was spread out, indicating some kind of interest. So I flipped open the cigar box with all my watercolors in it and asked the guy if he painted. He said a little, but nodded toward his wife, who was looking at my colors and saying "yes" about an interest in colors.
I remembered that I had a cheap little photo album where I keep the things that are going to be for sale as one-of-a-kind postcards. I whipped it out of my pocket while talking about making things that people would buy and flipped the pages. She said she wanted to see, so I flipped through it more slowly.
Several times they murmured approval with a couple of, "interesting, let me see" and the like, while I'm babbling on about colors, etc.
Then she said, "Can I buy that one? And will you sign it?"
This caught me completely off guard as I had only that morning been making labels for them; I was planning on taking pictures of them this week as I'll be selling them in the park next Saturday.
I pointed to the two prominent colors in it as I babbled on about them--Vermilion and Hooker's green. She asked what the background wash was: Prussian Blue.
I was jumping up and down and telling her how incredibly exciting this was for me because it was the first painting I'd sold. I said I needed to know her name. She seemed a bit hesitant, but wrote out her name in a URL on my scratch paper.
So, I sold it to her for $3 and told her I didn't have a picture of it. She said she'd send me a jpg if I sent her my email address.
I then told her that I'd come at painting from an obsession with color and pushed Ball's Bright Earth across the counter to her, while saying that I was now into my second reading of it. She flipped through it and wrote the info in her notebook.
As they left, she said, "Keep on."
I immediately jumped on the internet and when her resume came up I nearly fell off the stool.
Out of deference to her, I am not including the link without her permission. I'm at the bottom, she's at the top and I understand what might be a reluctance for the link.
After a couple of depressing weeks, I've managed to get myself back. I forced myself out of the house to go to The Studio Store in Johnson to buy a tube of paint. It worked. (The paint served not quite the same purpose as the pencil did in Virginia Woolf's Street Haunting, but similar.) I mucked with my colors when I came back, and the next day got this onto a small stretched canvas (garage sale reclamation). It's number 4, I think, in my Moonlight in Vermont series. And, every time I work on this project, I curse the modern cars that are now endowed with the inability to turn off the headlights.
There is a stretch of straight road just as I turn off Route 104 whenever I come home from St. Albans. At least once a year, when the moon was bright and I happened to be coming home that way at night, I used to turn off my headlights as I made that turn, and drive for a bit in a moonlit world. It always gave me a few moments of deep pleasure. And, now, no more.