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Vermont Studio Center
posted: June 5, 2012
The Wolf Kahn Studio building, one of three painting studio buildings at the center. This used to be the town gymnasium. The center court logo is still evident in the center hallway....

As I mentioned in my last post, several weeks ago, I had the good fortune to be asked back to the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT for Vermont Week, that brings together over 60 Vermont visual artists and writers for a week of intensive work. Each participant is given a modest bedroom with a shared bath and a spacious studio. Large and airy with pristine white walls, alot of light and very high ceilings, the studios are a pleasure to work in. Meals are eaten communally and the food is terrific featuring a fresh, localvore salad bar and artisanal bread. I will be working this week off at the gym for months to come..
I attended this week last year and didn't quite know what to expect going in. I finished about a dozen small watercolors and several small easel sized acrylics. Afterwards, I was kicking myself for not pushing myself out of my comfort zone and more importantly not taking advantage of the big space. So this year I brought along a large roll of canvas that I had bought several years ago (luckily primed, or I would have spent the first day house painting with gesso), a limited palette of liquid acrylics and some big ass brushes. This time I was going to paint BIG. Rather than having a hair dryer going all the time to dry  washes on the big paintings, I always had a watercolor going and bounced back and forth between the two.
Just prior to my departure, I did some drawings in my sketchbook that I was very excited about. My plan was to do some paintings along these lines. Naturally, my plan morphed as I went along. I tried a number of different directions and generally was pleased with the results. Upon arriving back at my home studio, I rearranged things so that I could continue working on a larger scale. Trying to keep the mojo working.
So what's this got to do with illustration? I've always believed that personal work fuels the commercial work. I'm constantly learning things through my personal work that finds it's way into my illustration work. And as an illustrator who spends alot of time solo in the studio, the comraderie of this week went along way toward recharging my batteries. This was a wonderfully  talented group of artists and writers, alot of whom I can now call friends.
The Mill Building contains the kitchen and dining room as well as the offices upstairs and the lounge downstairs. Also downstairs is an extensive art library that is for the use of residents....

White dude in a white room....

Here are several sketchbook pages that loosely informed some of the paintings I did at the Center....

Big Chief - Acrylic on Canvas - 66" × 48"...

Pomp and Circumstance - Acrylic on Canvas - 64" × 34"...

Etiquette - Acrylic on Canvas - 32" × 42"...

Lazing Grace - Acrylic on Canvas - 30" × 42"...

Cloud Treaty - Watercolor and and Mixed Media - 12.75" × 8.75"...

Opposing Philosophies - Watercolor and Mixed Media - 12.75" × 8.75" ...

Catch - Watercolor and Mixed Media - 13" × 8.75"...

Big Step - Watercolor and Mixed Media - 12.75" × 8.75"...

Decision - Watercolor and Mixed Media - 12.75" × 8.75 "...

Looking a little rough at week's end. I'd like to thank Zoe Barracano, Dona Mara and Scott J. Morgan for letting me use some of their photos....

25 comments
harry June 5, 2012
Hal, What a beautiful setting. I really like the pieces on the wall in the shot of you working. I would love a retreat to just work on personal work, great.
Walter Vasconcelos June 5, 2012
Nice post, beautiful images! I love the piece Etiquette, good luck Hal :-)
Jan Korb June 5, 2012
Great post, Hal! Love the scale of Big Chief and really like the Etiquette piece too.
Adam McCauley June 5, 2012
Fantastic work, Hal, and a really neat place to retreat to and make art. Really cool to see what you do when it gets bigger and more abstract. Thanks for posting.
Joe Ciardiello June 5, 2012
A very productive week, Hal. Great opportunity to explore. Love the watercolors, as always.
Michael Sloan June 5, 2012
Very inspirational work, Hal.
Victor Juhasz June 5, 2012
What an incredible location. This is a wonderful grouping of paintings. Love 'Pomp and Circumstance'.
David Flaherty June 5, 2012
Good on you Hal! I really like etiquette.
RAG June 6, 2012
Way to work it Bud!
Christoph Hitz June 6, 2012
Make the most of your day. Looks great so far!
Greg M June 6, 2012
What a great setting in which to work. Looks like you're having fun. The work is bursting with good vibes.
Anna Dibble June 6, 2012
You go, Hal! Thanks so much for posting these pieces. So inspiring. good to break away and go for it. Life's short.
Alan Chien June 6, 2012
Sounds like a truly regenerative experience and your pictures confirm that. Great post, Hal. This should sustain you through another year of solitary. Good work.
Hal Mayforth June 6, 2012
Thanks for all the kind comments and support, folks. This experience was way better than a tropical vacation although I may change my mind about that come mid winter.
John Dykes June 6, 2012
Good growth Hal!! I would LOVE to be able to do that someday.
Brian Stauffer June 6, 2012
"etiquette" is a stand-out.
Robert Saunders June 6, 2012
Magnificent stuff, Hal. You are a true original.
Rob Dunlavey June 7, 2012
Keep that mojo working! Next time you're up there you'll be making prints and sculpture. My prediction…
Carl Wiens June 7, 2012
Cool new directions, Hal, what a spot! Love the Etiquette painting.
scott j. morgan June 7, 2012
you did some great work up there Hal. thanks for being a great studio neighbor..the best. I miss our little jammin time.
iskra June 7, 2012
Hal, So inspiring! Love to see you doing these language pieces. Really like the Etiquette and Pomp and Circumstance especially. Can I get a PO Box in Vermont?
Marc June 8, 2012
It's great to see you push the work to new places, sizes, and media--the way to keep what we do exciting and engaging. Looks like a wonderful environment to work in, too.
Richard Downs June 11, 2012
Looks like you did some cool stuff, Hal. Love the graffiti in, "Pomp and Circumstance". Great setting.
Jody Hewgill June 12, 2012
Lucky you Hal. I love the photo of you working on those large canvases pinned to the wall. Very cool work.
Zoë Barracano December 17, 2015
Thanks for the mention - I'm only now seeing it! Hope all is well.
All images copyright Hal Mayforth and may not be used without permission | 802-229-2716