|The Blandy Farm in November, oils on panel, 9" x 12."|
Yesterday afternoon I finally got out to paint in oils, something I haven't had a chance to do since last spring. I drove out to the Virginia State Arboretum, part of the Blandy Experimental Farm, which I pass every morning and evening on my way to work. The Blandy Farm is a 700-acre facility deeded to the University of Virginia by Mr. Graham Blandy, a wealthy New Yorker.
The Arboretum is a lovely place with many wonderful huge specimens of native and exotic conifers, boxwoods and other unusual plants. The previous weekend I'd taken Herb there to show him the place and we walked around to explore the various gardens and plantings.
It was difficult to choose a view--I wanted to show the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background, but didn't have much time to look around so I chose this view from the main house looking through some dramatic evergreens down to the fields. Though most of the foliage is now gone, the grasses on rolling hills showed some lovely colors in the afternoon sun, with the lengthening shadows for interest.
My skills have become rather rusty during these months of moving, and I'm afraid I didn't do justice to the landscape or the afternoon light. It didn't help to have a large group of very loud teenagers (college students I presume) who were having some sort of program nearby, and were making so much noise as to make it impossible to concentrate or enjoy the place (were we ever this loud at that age or have young people become ruder?).
My painting turned out rather ordinary, yet it felt so good to be out painting again! As the shadows lengthened it became chillier, and my hands were starting to get numb; it seemed like a good time to stop as the light was fading. I hope to do better on my next session as I get back into practice.