Hello and Welcome Friends,

  October, 2004
volume 2 number 10

We are finally settling in to our home in Brattleboro after several weeks of putting things away, taking care of business and calming down. Our time in Nova Scotia is still fresh in our memories and we are already looking forward to our return in the spring. Until then, we have our spectacular autumn and crystalline winter to enjoy in Vermont. Speaking of autumn, we are fast coming up on the peak of the foliage colors. It is lovely beyond words! Below is a picture I took yesterday of a little steamboat going down the Connecticut River behind Brattleboro. See what I mean?

We returned to a busy time in our little town - to say the least! At the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center there is an exhibit of works by Andy Warhol from the private collection of his partner, Jon Gould. It has been getting quite a bit of press lately including an article in the New York Times. I've also found my name in the press pretty regularly lately, but not in the New York Times! There was an article in the Brattleboro Reformer about a conversation I had with the Governor of Vermont, Jim Douglas and the goings on during Gallery Walk. To finish it off, my work was featured in a long article by Scot Borofsky in October's Gallery Walk magazine.

So much for shameless self-promotion!

I thought I would share with you a little bit of the process behind a painting I've been working on for about seven years. Pike's Falls is about 45 minutes away near Jamaica, Vermont. Unless you know where it is, you'll never find it. Patricia and I went there one afternoon in early September of 1997. This is one of two sketches I did that day, both of which became paintings.

  "Pike's Falls Sketch" Pencil 6" x 9"

I did the first version of the painting like the sketch, without anything but water in the foreground. In 2000 I decided that it needed something there, so I repainted it, adding rocks in the foreground.

  "Pike's Falls" (second state) Oil on Canvas 39" x 48"

After a few years looking at the painting like this, I decided that there needed to be a major composition change. I had visually blocked off the left hand side of the painting, liked what I saw and decided that it needed to be cut down. I did this at the beginning of this year, 2004. The result was a better composition that focussed on the main theme of the subject.

  "Pike's Falls" (third state) Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

This summer in Nova Scotia I learned a few things. One of those things was how to look through water and see what is underneath in painting. You may recall that I showed you a painting in the August newsletter called "Carters Beach Rocks". This was my first success at this difficult subject. When I succeeded at this painting, I knew immediately that I would want to change "Pike's Falls" to include the transparency of the pool of water. Sure enough it was the first painting I addressed once we settled down a little bit in Vermont. And here is the final painting.

  "Pike's Falls" (fourth state) Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

You may notice that I also made broad changes in the colors above the water and also changed the flow of the stones as they go back in space. As well, I repainted the waterfall itself. In all, I feel it is a superior painting to the earlier versions. I hope you agree.

So now I am preparing to launch into the next round of painting. In the meantime, we have many guests coming through our little B&B to enjoy the autumn with us and much catching up to do with our friends. Last night we went to a wonderful concert of music that is reconstructed from the Jewish traditions and recreates the music of 2000 years ago from the middle east. Wonderful and unusual instruments and sounds combined with exquisite voices to produce music that was powerfully evocative of the time and place. The San Antonio Vocal Ensemble provided our inspiration for the evening. We have been invited to attend the 40th anniversary celebration of the Vermont Arts Council tomorrow night at Marlboro College. As a former staff member I am looking forward to seeing my friends again and helping them to mark 40 years of working to strengthen the arts in Vermont. I am proud to have been able to contribute my share to their efforts.

I hope this finds you all well and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours,

William H. Hays


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The Artist's Loft Bed & Breakfast and Gallery, Vermont
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