I cannot believe hearing the news that another of the wonderful generation it seemed would simply always be there, has gone, Dawn Hazelett. She and her family were always there when I was growing up in Stowe. Weekend in and out you knew you would see Dawn and her husband Bill somewhere on Mt. Mansfield skiing. I had years of happy memories skiing with their kids David, Susie and Ann. Susie and I am some other girls our age had what seemed to be limitless good times skiing down Mt. Mansfield from top to bottom with as little time on a trail, and as much time in the woods as possible.
I never got see see their beloved Stave Island on Lake Champlain, but in 2011 my childhood friend Susie commissioned me to create a painting of Stave Island for the family to enjoy. (I do that) She sent me a remarkable book of photographs. I began to develop the painting.
I decided to paint it in winter and Susie told me how delighted they were to see it in a season where they can never see it, as it is not accessible by boat or seaplane in winter. Susie passed along to me the fact that her mother Dawn was especially intrigued to see the lights on in the boat house which made me happy to know some fond memory was perhaps activated.
I will always remember Dawn Hazelett so very fondly. A very loving, calm and steady presence.
They were both remarkable, unforgettable people. I will include a little more reading here (a Tribute to Bill from Senator Patrick Leahy in Capitol Words) and here (article about Bill’s part in ski history from Skiing Heritage March 2008 site with lots of great stuff and a very cute picture of Bill and Dawn skiing in 1947) .
“Downriver view from Highland Park Bridge” SOLD Watercolor ad Gouache
I like the idea of plein air painting, I really do but I don’t like doing it, at least it seems that way. Where would I go to the bathroom if I stood out on the bridge to paint this? Would I dump a few gallons of water from cleaning my brushes over the side? Even if that was OK and its not, there is a chain link fence. The amount of stuff I would schlep is not appealing but it happens sometimes and I have been known to say I like plein air painting, and in truth there ARE moments when I like it, but mostly I like the idea of it. Though working on site is good for sketching I rarely take a painting all the way through at the site.
People ask if I use photos when I create a painting. I very often do. Here are a few I took to visualize a composition for this painting. I see this view so often when driving over the bridge I wanted to paint it. There is a sidewalk on the bridge and I recommend walking it to slow down the view you see when driving.
A list of things seen in my painting is at the bottom of this post.
Some of the many pictures I took to help visualize this scene:
I walk out on the bridge and do a quick sketch and take a bunch of pictures. Then I put together my ideas indoors, where there is a sink, a bathroom, heat and air conditioning. Oh and a computer where I look at my photographs. So no. I am not much of a plein air painter. Not often anyway. I even take pictures of my painting while I am painting it and seeing them on a big screen helps me know what to do next. Pathetic words for a real plein air painter!
What you can see in this painting looking downriver from Highland Park Bridge:
Lock No. 2 on left at foot of Morningside . The bridge you see is the 62nd Street Bridge. The first neighborhood on the right is Sharpsburg and the docks and island nearest you are where, in 2015 you can rent a pontoon boat at Sharpsburg Islands Marina. The water tower is in Sharpsburg. A new plan is underway to develop a wonderful waterfront park. It is the vision of Susan and Currie Crookston. The Crookstons generated community support from the three municipalities the property runs through, Sharpsburg, O’hara and Aspinwall. The new Aspinwall Riverfront Park which you cannot see in this view. It is on the right and it is just on the upriver side of Highland Park Bridge.