Sunday, April 10, 2011
the old Chapman farm, a plein air-ish study
Our road is strictly a farm road. It goes nowhere, really, though I think that the few cars who drive along it on weekends are using it as a short-cut to get from Route 10 over to Route 23 and then on to Oneonta, where there is commerce - the inescapable Hannaford, Home Depot and Walmart - on the outskirts and at the center, a charming main street where several independently owned stores and restaurants struggle mightily to stay afloat in the face of the behemoths at the periphery. But our road is all about the farms - four of them, all dairy. Our farm is not exactly a working farm. We have no cows of our own and the only crops we raise come out of my yearly vegetable patch but the three other farmers from the road make use of our land - take its hay, pasture their heifers, store tractors in our barn and so we feel very much a part of this increasingly rare agricultural community. From my studio I can see the Chapman farm which has been in the same family for at least two generations. It is a little run down now but I have always loved the look of those old barns nestling into the valley as if they grew there as organically as the trees that surround them. The colors of the land right now, just before it turns spring upstate, are beautiful and subtle and a heartier woman than I would have bundled up against the chill and painted this scene outside. But I didn't. I positioned my easel next to the window and while listening to Schubert, painted quite comfortably and with only the faintest twinge of guilt.