Maple Syrup Making Near Linwood
A team of white horses, called Schimmels in Pennsylvania German, pull the sleigh with the gathering tank for maple sap. This view of the midseason of maple syruping shows bits of grass and reeds coming through the snow as the warming sun penetrates into the bush. In the background, steam wafts from the louvers at the top of the sugar shanty, giving a hint to the misty warm air inside the building. An alert dog spies us watching the scene but the woman collecting sap concentrates on emptying the tree-hung pail.
Although we tend to think of sleighs sliding along snow-covered trails in the sugarbush, depending on the weather, the horses often pull a wagon through sloppy pieces of bush. In the Linwood piece you see the man with hip waders, ready for those corners of a wet and muddy bush. The trees save the snow by blocking the sun’s rays inside the woods, while in the fields surrounding the bush the ground is bare. It often seems like the interior of the bush is half a season behind the snowless fields that surround it.
This painting was started on Daytime, a daily show on Rogers Cable 20. I photographed the steps as they progressed in my home studio as a way of showing how I develop a painting using photos from my file. Click here to view the process.
18" x 24"