Looking South From Carpenter Hill Road - watercolor en plein air sketch by Tony ConnerThis is a favorite nearby painting spot that makes you feel like you are on top of and at the edge of the world. From here, the rough dirt road drops deep into the valley where the village of Pownal, Vermont sits and the Hoosick River flows.

I paint here from time to time and very much enjoy the view and the painting subject matter.  One of my “Winter Hundred” paintings, “The Pownal Valley” was done from this spot. There are a number of other sketches that I’ve done from here as well.

The morning was very cloudy and no direct sunlight was getting through. But, the hills, fields, and forests provided a rhythmic movement that activated the scene.  On cloudy, somewhat hazy mornings like this, the sense of distance is enhanced as everything gets cooler, lighter and bluer as they get farther away.

While the work is representational, even realistic, in fact it is built on a very strong pattern of abstract shapes. The winter landscape with its stark contrasts of snow covered fields and gray/brown forests is easily converted to abstract pattern. It is hard to think of another landscape subject that can teach and artist so much about composing with simple, abstract shapes.