Tuesday April 29, ’14


Congregational Church, Litchfield CT, WC sketch


Congregational Church Steeple, Litchfield CT


Allegedly, this church is one of the most photographed in all of New England…. 


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
T. S. Eliot 

The birth of spring this year has been long-labored with considerable pain and difficulty.  We’ve had snow, we’ve had frosts, we’ve had many days of temps below average April temps and many days of gray and rain.  What is growing out of dead ground is highly vulnerable to weather and conditions that are often more wintry, than spring-like.

The hope is strong in me that April showers bring May flowers.

Yesterday was one helluva wonderful spring day! 

Today is wintry.


An acquaintance from my Litchfield days asked me to donate a small painting to benefit the Litchfield Historical Society at an auction to be held at the end of May.  I was pleased to have been asked.  The theme of the show/sale is Spring into Litchfield. 

The Litchfield Green is in the top 5 of places where I love to go where I can sit in the sun and paint.  Or sketch or photograph….  When this friend explained the theme of the show to me my mind sprang into the idea of doing a painting I’ve wanted to do, which is the steeple of the Congregational Church rising like a rocket out of a cloud of flowering trees into a dazzling spring-blue sky filled with fat and lazy clouds —  in an 8”x 10” format. 

How I envision this painting one thing but how I realize the vision is another.  And The Problem….   

Yesterday, being a perfect April day, I hustled through the business I needed to do and by 1pm, was free to gather my outdoor painting supplies and head to the Green for a few hours.

It felt great to be warm in the sun, sitting in my lawn chair out of doors and on the Green.  I’ve been going there to paint for decades, since I first went there in the mid-70’s with a sister.  The idea of the steeple rising like a rocket out of a cloud of blossoms came to me many years ago when I passed the church on my way to work and witnessed my perception of the phenomenon I’ve described.  The window of opportunity is small because the blossoms on the trees only last a few days, at best.

At this point, I have no idea as to how I might solve The Problem and deliver a rendering of my vision to the Historical Society by May 31, but I sure did have a great time thinking about it and working on this small sketch.

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5 Responses to Tuesday April 29, ’14

  1. beetleypete says:

    We have a Lichfield here too, without the ‘T’. Here is a photo of the cathedral there, equally challenging to paint I think.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichfield_Cathedral
    As always Gretchen, I love the blues captured in your watercolours. They are so saturated and unusual, I like to think of them as ‘Gretchen Blues’.
    Regards from England as always, Pete.

  2. An old Congregational Church reminds: I did my MA paper on New England Puritans mid 1600’s and the doctrinal disputes the divided them(amicably) into Presbyterians or Congregationalists back in 1980. .

    • I stayed with the Congregationals. I love going to services in these beautiful churches.

      • Did you know it was the tradition not to have stove or fireplace in the colonial churches until the late 1700’s ? Some think in was to keep people cold and awake. Nope. The reason was that the meeting house/church was were the village stored the gun powder.

      • And here I always thought that a lack stove or fireplace was to keep people humble and awake. Weren’t church services very long in those days? I can’t imagine how uncomfortable a church service might have been in very cold weather.

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