Hello and Welcome Friends,

  April, 2005
volume 3 number 4

The first warm day of spring. This morning I was watching birds land on the upper branches of the trees beside the river. They are flowering now and beginning to show their subtle reds, oranges and pale greens out from the gray of winter. As each bird would grasp onto one delicate branch the morning sun would catch yellow puffs of pollen shaken loose with the landing.

As usual, I have been painting. I've been working on a variety of subjects and moods that I hope you'll enjoy.

In anticipation of summer in Vermont I went back to a subject that I have done several times, sunset on the West River. The mouth of the river where it meets the Connecticut River widens and there are shifting low islands of grasses and trees. The sun sets behind the mountains that march up the valley. The Marina Restaurant lies on the shore and sunsets from there are quite lovely. Here's is a painting inspired by that.

"Morning on the Connecticut River" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

This painting is currently in the Picture This Gallery in Westport, Connecticut

Summer has many moods in Vermont and one of my favorites is a capricious stormy day. Again I turned to an old friend for the composition. In this case a painting I did ten years ago. The Scott Bridge is one of many covered bridges in the area. This view requires a little bush whacking. The bridge is closed to auto traffic but can be walked across. It is really a pleasant place up the West River Valley from us.

"Summer Crossing" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

Next I turned to things as they really are these days. Looking down on the Connecticut River from our loft, we see many different scenes through the seasons. In the evenings when the sun is setting, the shadows of the mountains and the town creep up the opposite shore. I've seen many shades of a broad range of colors at different times of year. This painting is worked with a combination of oranges, blues and purples. For me it is an unusual palette and I found it very intersting to work with. The deep, warm colors where the sun is on the hillside come from the ground litter, normally an ochre gray. The trees are bare.

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

I've been reading a catalog from an exhibition of paintings by Winslow Homer. We saw an excellent show of his work at the MFA in Boston some years ago and it has stuck with me. I will look through his paintings several times a year. In his later years, Homer lived on the coast of Maine at Prouts Neck. His studio was perched on the shoreline rocks and he seemed to love a good storm. Ah, the drama! I referenced a composition from a recent painting in last month's newsletter and worked with Homer's paintings as inspiration. Having thought about it a little bit, I realize that this is only the second painting depicting rain that I've ever done.

"Nor'easter" Oil on Canvas 16" x 23"

Night paintings are something that I don't see too many people do (well). Homer was one of them. I do night paintings two or three times a year. This one was also inspired by Homer.

"Silent Moon" Oil on Canvas 16" x 23"

Next I turned back to the Nova Scotia Coast. I did a large painting that is now in the Picture This Gallery in Westport called "White Point, Nova Scotia." White Point in on the northeastern coast of Cape Breton Island. Patricia and I went up there one September. Although the weather was very cooperative when we were there, fog is a frequent occurance. Frankly, I like it when its foggy. I love the way it constantly changes. So I interpreted that place at foggy sunrise.

I approached this piece in a manner that I've been using fairly frequently lately, a very limited palette. I used three colors and white for this one. That might seem impossible when you look at the painting. But it is done using a blended red, a blended yellow and pure cobalt blue. The combinations provide a broad range of possibilities.

"First Sunrise" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

Revisiting another old friend, I looked forward to the summer when we are by the beaches in Nova Scotia. Carters Beach is one of those locales that has been painted many times by many people. There is a reason for that: it is a startlingly beautiful place. In this painting I worked with an aspect that I have done several times before in different ways. I wanted find that arc of the water and sand that would provide a broad sweep into the distance. Makes you want to walk to the other side, doesn't it?

"Arc of Tranquility" Oil on Canvas 38" x 28"

I think that's enough for now. Don't you?

I do enjoy hearing from you. Thanks for looking at the latest crop of paintings.


William H. Hays

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