Back at the Jones Farm

Today is Thursday, September 2, 2010.  Finally, back to painting the wine trail!  I was unable to paint in the spring because life and all its busy little ups and downs stole time from me.  I hate when it does that!  A mural, the end of the school year, summer stuff and before I could take a deep breath I found myself looking at the calendar thinking…”Is it September already?”

Today is the 5th time in two weeks that I have gone out into the fields at the Jones Farm in Shelton, Connecticut.  I decided to start local since it has been almost a year since painting outside.  This is the second of two paintings in progress.  It reached 95 degrees outside today so I called it a day after 4 hours of painting under the hot sun. 

This painting is a close up of green grapes on the vine.  I used a lot of sap green.  To get lighter tones of green I tinted it with cadmium yellows, cadmium orange and titanium white. 

To darken the green leaves I added alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue and burnt umber.  I normally don’t use burnt umber and mix my own browns, but I found this tube of paint in my studio as I was cleaning it and thought it would be a good base color for the brown earth tones while painting in plain air.  You’d be surprised at how many versions  and shades of green can be found in grape leaves.

Most of the rows of vines are covered in white or black mesh net.  These vines have a sad look to them because their beauty is covered in a shroud.  This is to prevent birds from eating the crops of grapes.  Last year I remember hearing loud gunshots for hours some days.  By shooting into the air they were able to keep the birds away and prevent them from nesting in near by trees.  The mesh coverings seem to be a more convenient way of protecting the grapes not to mention it’s easier on the ears. 

The folks at the Jones Farm were busy preparing the fields for the impact of hurricane Earl.  It is supposed to reach the New England Coast by tomorrow morning with high winds and heavy rain.  A welcome relief after this intense heat but not a welcome weather event for farmers whose harvest season is starting to peak.  High winds can blow the crops right off their branches.  I am glad I was able to complete this painting today.  Who knows what Earl is going to do to these delicately balanced grapes.

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