Hello and Welcome Friends,

  December 2003
volume 2 number 1

Winter in Vermont is a time of year that makes us feel cozy and warm. There is something about a snowstorm dumping a couple of feet that we enjoy. Maybe it is watching the clockworks on Main Street slow down, car by car, person by person, until there are only the accents of falling snow. Maybe its the way the mountain across the river appears and disappears in the mists and layers of gray and blue. Maybe we're just looking forward to waking up in the crystalline brilliance of the next day when each step is marked in cobalt and yellow. In any case, we have had several feet of snow so far this winter with much more to look forward to.

The Connecticut River has gone from frozen to open in this past week. Christmas Day was a rainy affair that raised the water and broke up the ice in grinding, churning flotillas that squeezed through the open channels of water. With the warmth, we opened the windows to hear the crunching and crackling of the ice. Every hour saw the openings widen until the only ice remaining is now along the shoreline. Never fear, it will return. On a sunny day, the light coming off of the snow and ice on the river is a brilliant white that illuminates our ceilings from below. On cloudy days each glimpse out the windows reveals a new scene. From this quickly changing panorama, I frequently draw inspriration. Here is a painting that was done recently and is now in the Golden Door Gallery in New Hope, Pennsylvania:

"After The Snowfall" Oil on Panel 16" x 23"

The painting is (I think) a compelling image that gives you the feeling of the mists coming off of the snow and trees. Folks often ask me from where I get my images for landscape paintings. Sometimes they are completely imaginary. Mostly they are inspired by something that I have seen. This one was inspired by seeing something out the window from The Artist's Loft. From that glimpse, I did a sketch. Here is the sketch, about 5 inches wide, in pencil:

sketch for "After The Snowfall" 3" x 4"

As you can see, there are quite a few changes between the sketch and the final painting. Mostly, the sketch serves as a jumping off point. I try to "hear what the painting has to say" when I am working on it. Sometimes the paintings become something completely different than what I intended at the beginning. Here is one that stayed pretty consistent from the initial idea through the final painted image:

"Green Mountain Falls" Oil on Canvas 42" x 28"

"Vermont Sunset" Oil on Canvas 28" x 38"

Finally, I have a new, formal portrait with which I am very pleased. Mary Bourne is the first female branch manager in the 176 year history of Chittenden Bank (what took them so long!?). Fortunately for me, she is just across the street. She has been a very patient subject for me and has watched the painting go through quite a few changes over the weeks, before reaching the final image. This is not an easy thing to do when you are looking at a changing image of yourself, larger than life size! I'm sure she wanted to just forget it several times. But it finally came out the way I wanted it to. Hope you enjoy it too:

"Mary Bourne" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

"Mary Bourne" detail

This is the first fully developed portrait that I have done in some months. I most often have a rollercoaster ride experience when doing these paintings. When they are going well, portraits are magic! The person is alive and looking into your eyes. When they are not going well, they are torture that is precipitated through maddening subtlety and nuance. Each tiny little application of paint makes a difference in how the person looks. It is an amazing balance that challenges every skill I have developed over the years. I love it!

I have received an invitation to exhibit my works for the Governor of Vermont and am delighted to do so. This portrait, along with about 15 other paintings will be hung in the office of the Governor of Vermont in February and March in Montpelier. You will probably be receiving an invitation in the mail in a few weeks. We will be getting together with Governor (Jim) Douglas on the 11th of February for a reception. That date will mark the beginning of my lobbying effort to do the official portrait of the Governor for the Statehouse. I want it! If you know the Governor, drop in a good word for me from time to time ;-)

Thanks for looking at my new works. I enjoy hearing from you when you have a chance to write. If you are coming up to Vermont any time soon, be sure to get in touch with us, come by the gallery or stay at our little B&B. This Friday, the 2nd of January, is Gallery Walk in downtown Brattleboro. I will be having a preview of the exhibition for the Governor. There will be lots to do that night, more than 20 openings! Hope to see you then.


William H. Hays

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The Artist's Loft Bed & Breakfast and Gallery, Vermont
103 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301-4308  USA
802-257-5181  www.TheArtistsLoft.com

The Artist's Loft Fine Art Gallery, Nova Scotia
120 Main Street
Liverpool, NS B0T 1K0  Canada