Winter of 1780 in Morristown was a brutal situation for the continental army – solders were given almost nothing to eat and supplies were scare. Meanwhile, General Washington and other high ranked officials stayed at the Ford Mansion with plenty to eat. I suppose little has changed since then; a few benefit while the majority struggles.
At this time of year, I am always grateful that I can get warm whenever I want to. This painting is a representation of the hardship that these men endured as they fought for independence from Britain. Fire was crucial for both survival and sending warning signals of British attack.
Winter of 1780 in Morristown, New Jersey
Here’s are work in progress photos for this painting.
Original idea sketch for composition
Starting to lay in some of the washes and trees
The pines dry much lighter in color than expected
Time to refine and define values better
Winter of 1780 (w/c 14×20”)
Today, Presidents’ Day is a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents. But, some still refer to this day as “Washington’s Birthday”. This holiday was originally established in 1885 to honor President George Washington, though his actual birthday is February 22nd. Coincidentally, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and William Henry Harrison were also born in February.
Washington was commander in chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Jockey Hollow (the inspiration for this watercolor) was used as a winter encampment by the Continental Army. Here, the soldiers suffered hunger, from lack of resources, and miserable cold and stormy winter conditions. As I hike through the hills of Jockey Hollow, I imagine this place some 240 years ago.
At last; a light snow dusting settled on tree branches and walking paths in the second half of Sunday. Just in time for the finished painting, which I started last week!
Thought I’d share another one from the Natirar. This scene can be found in what I call the “upstairs” section of the park. Not too far from the entrance is a path that takes you over the Raritan river and up toward an open grassy area, where this big gray barn resides. It has been a “good” winter, so this area is almost entirely covered in snow and ice. Only a few random twigs and grasses emerge from underneath, and sway back and forth in the cold evening air. I have seen wild turkey in the area, so I thought that they might like to wander around the big barn once in a while in search of a meal. Who knows what else goes on when we are not around…