This blog is usually about painting, but tonight I am going a little bit afield. Let me show you some photos I have taken lately. I don't often work from photos but I take a lot, I always think I will......... I am not claiming the that these are "art", they are just some places I have stood this week. I have been showing the progress of fall through New England over the last month or so. I love old barns and houses, trees and hills. I spend a lot of time hunting painting locations, these are the result of that.
This is the public library in Tilton, New Hampshire, it must have started life as a meeting house. New Hampshire has this sort of architecture everywhere. Below is a view I found that is also near Laconia, I need to be on that location at two so I go up there an hour early each time and drive the back roads looking for scenery. Notice the mountains in the background. Those are the beginning of the White Mountains.
I haven't done a post on Wallace Nutting, but I will soon. He did the same thing in the 1920's and published a series of books of his photographs and descriptions of the back roads of America all titled with the word Beautiful. He wrote Maine Beautiful, and New Hampshire Beautiful, etc. If you collect American furniture (and who doesn't? ) you know his guide to furniture.
The barn above was in upstate New York, near the finger lakes, I was there in the last week too. I enjoyed painting over there because the farms are still operating and that keeps the fields open. The soil there is not rocky like in New England, and I guess it is still profitable to farm there.
The woods are reclaiming all of rural New England. The woods here are all marked off with stone walls.They run in every direction and as the fall strips the leaves from the trees they appear. Wherever you see a stone wall it was once a farmers field . The frost heaves new stones to the surface of the fields every winter. In the spring the farmers moved them to the borders of the fields to get them out of the way of their plows. Below are some of the granite stones that are the teeth of our landscape.
And here are some old walls that are in that woods.
Generations of farmers spent their lives laboriously clearing the fields that these woods have now reclaimed. A hundred years ago New Hampshire and Vermont were 90% cleared and 10% forest, today they are 90% forest and 10% cleared. The trees march back on to your land as soon as you lay down in the ground yourself.
There is a place only a few miles from me called Mystery Hill, or Americas Stonehenge. Giant stones, megaliths and chambers built from monumental rocks and cyclopian walls cover several acres of a hillside. They may be well over a thousand years old, or they might not be. I don't know which, but there is some carbon dating evidence that argues for their great age. They are certainly very spooky and mysterious. I will do a post on those too, as soon as the leaves are off the trees so they can be seen clearly. New England has dozens of standing stones, massive stone chambers and man made balanced rocks. I have stumbled upon a few really strange things out painting in the woods. There are ruined 19th century mills along the streams, forgotten orchards still producing after being abandoned for generations, and the foundations of entire villages from early America in the forests of New England. I know colonial roads still visible through the forest that haven't seen a wheel in a hundred years, and I know places where the red paint people camped six thousand years before Christ.