Today is Monday, October 5, 2009. It was a partly sunny day but chilly. I have to wear two sweaters while painting. Even though the sun was shining some of the time, it seemed as though the darkness and coolness of the clouds were winning the battle over who ruled the sky. The once thick and lush leaves of the grape vines are dwindling and turning brown. No longer do the yellow and blue hues of the glorious summer greens dominate the landscapes. Hints of reds, oranges and burnt sienna colors are starting to take over. Today it evoked a feeling of sadness. The fun and exciting days of painting in the hot sunny summer fields is over and I don’t want it to be.
I drove to the Haight-Brown vineyard which is #6 on the Connecticut Wine Trail. I decided to head up there and work more on one of the two paintings I started a couple of weeks ago. This vineyard is in Litchfield, Connecticut and is less than half a mile down the road from the Litchfield Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. I discovered this beautiful vineyard after visiting the Shrine with my children on Labor Day. It was easy to find because there are dark blue highway signs with white lettering and an arrow that point you in the direction of the Connecticut Wine Trail.
This second vineyard that I am painting at is what inspired me to actually take on the challenge of painting the entire Connecticut Wine Trail. Each vineyard and winery has its own unique beauty. Haight-Brown has this huge antique oak wine barrel in a declining phase perched on the front lawn. There is yellow caution tape draped around it because it is falling apart.
When I made my first inquiry to see if I could come and paint the barrel, the wine tasting manager, Tina said that they would love for me to paint it because they will be taking it down soon. It seems the cost of restoration, around 7500K, is not in the budget and for safety reasons it will eventually be taken apart. Maybe even used as firewood god forbid! Tina told me that they sold off all the old oak barrels last year for a mere 175 dollars. They have not used the old fashioned oak barrels for fermenting wine in many years. Nowadays stainless steel is all they use and to get that woodsy oak flavor they simply add pieces of oak to the wine as it ferments in the stainless steel barrels.
The main building at Haight-Brown with the large barrel in the front is surrounded by rows of assorted grape vines. People can come and walk through these vineyards on either side of the building but in the back you are not able to walk the vineyards. There is a wagon with three small wooden barrels on top of it that blocks the entry way to this section. It is a picture perfect image that I couldn’t wait to paint! This is the second painting at Haight-Brown that I am working on, the one I painted on today and a photo of it is posted with this blog.
I always think I will be able to accomplish more than I do. For example, I thought I will only need to work on the painting for an hour then I can start a third painting. But this did not happen. I worked for three hours and then had to head home. And I did not finish. But I did walk away feeling a good sense of accomplishment for the day. I am hoping this is one of the 6 paintings that will be chosen for the calendar.