Monday, October 12, 2009

Jefforsonville Vermont

Well I covered a lot of miles today. I drove up to Jefforsonville Vermont to retrieve a painting that had been in a show there and to see some fall color with my family. I am exhausted, but I will write a little and then more again on this tomorrow. Jefforsonville is another of those art places that I like. It is on the back side or the northern side of Mt. Mansfield. Stowe is on the other side, and is the playground of the wealthy, Jeffforsonville is a working mans town that few are aware of. But it is where the artists have worked. As you can see on the map this is northern Vermont, almost at the Canadian border, in the Green Mountains.

In the 1920's a group of painters started coming here to paint. The group included John Carlson. Emile Gruppe, Aldro Hibbard, Chauncy Ryder, Loring Coleman, Alden Bryan, and Tom Curtin. In 1920 Jefforsonville was really out in the sticks, although you could take train there. They stayed here, at the Smugglers Notch Inn.

I took this picture today, and it is as you can see still there and running. There are a lot of really good places to paint within a short drive of the inn and many are unchanged since the days when those guys went there. I have been painting up there for about twenty years or so. I first painted there with an enormous group of artists from Rockport Mass. including Paul Strisik, and Bernard Corey, Don Mosher, Charles Movalli and his wife Dale Radcliff, Tom Sr. and T.M. Nicholas, Stefan Pastuhov and Bruce Turner and others. Some years after Columbus Day there would be fifty artists working in the area. That doesn't seem to happen anymore. I think the rendezvous got so big that it became unwieldy. But those of us who are still alive go in small groups still.

One of the artists from the 1920's group, Alden Bryan was quite wealthy and built a small museum and it often shows the work of the painters who come to the area to paint. Here is a photo of that.

It is a well lit, beautifully and inovatively designed space, with room to hang several hundred pictures. Its purpose is to encourage the artists painting there today, and to document those who worked there in the past. Here is one of the views near Jeff, as the locals call it, that artists have painted for generations. That's Mansfield in the background.

Here is another scene nearby that has attracted artists.

That is about what I am capable of tonight. I will return tomorrow and tell you more.


Gregory Becker said...

That is beautiful up there.

willek said...

Great post, Stape. Was not aware of the Bryant Gallery, though as a young man I spent a lot of time up there doing other things. They have a terrific web site and it looks like it would be a good idea to become a member. Have you got any comments about painting the intensly colored foliage we are into now? said...

Good morning Stapleton,
I'm a painter..I don't have any lunch money! Anyway, in an Italian American neighborhood, we don't call Swiss chard "gourmet food": we just call it food and we grow it. Now, jello molds..can't grow those.

I'm suffering inside here cause I have to finish up my studio still life today..but you are so's lovely out there. And though my landscapes are coming along thanks to your bloggin' I have to tend to my business. Like you said, it's all part of the job. You have some hard work ahead of you but enjoy!

One of the best tips I got from you was to keep the blue sky to a minimum. It allows those fall colors to be intense in their own right but not screaming next to the blue.

Philip Koch said...

This is why I love checking out Stape's blog- he always comes up with weird factoids I don't know about. Now I'll have to add this Bryant Gallery to my travel itinerary. One of the weird places I like to go- Plattsburg, NY (where they have the wonderful Rockwell Kent work at the State University Art Museum) isn't far away. I like to paint near Lake Placid, NY, where I worked as a youth as a dishwasher in a boy scout camp, drive up to the top of Whiteface Mountain, and drive up to Plattsburg. Now maybe swing by Jefforsonville too.

Marian- one of the things Winslow Homer was alleged to have said was "never paint a blue sky."
He almost always followed his own advice. said...

Thanks Philip,
I agree. Having improved a tiny little bit in my landscape painting this summer, I concur with Homer too. Besides it's way too fun inventing a sky with clouds and color. The only place where I have ever used blue sky effectively is in some stark architectural paintings of Florida mobile homes and New Mexico pueblos.

Knitting Out Loud said...

Hey Stape, loved the Guido Sarducci video! Also loved the Ives Gammel story. Just FYI, audiobook publishers get up at 6:30.

Rae O'Shea said...

The first time I delivered paintings to Bryan Memorial I was amazed at how small the town was but the work was great. I'm not familiar with the area so I just wander back roads and it is a great place to paint. There is just never enough time!

Stapleton Kearns said...

It is a piece of the old Vermont, most of Vermont the fields are gown up n trees


Stapleton Kearns said...

If you paint up there they will probably invite you to be in a show.

Stapleton Kearns said...


You are doing that indoor art!This is one of my favorite times to be out doors working. What is a chard?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I wonder what weird factoid I caan come up with next. Oh yeah, I know!

Stapleton Kearns said...

If you paint up there they will probably invite you to be in a show.

Stapleton Kearns said...

If you get up that early maybe you should be a doctor.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think that valley is one of the best paces in America to paint.
I hope you found Pleasant Valley.