Meet the Apples and Artists

READY FOR PICKING, watercolor by Yvonne Hemingway, one of 10 artists who will be painting in the orchard Saturday.

TWO OF NEW ENGLAND’s leading strengths — the diversity of its apples and orchards, and its preeminence in ciders — will be on full display this Saturday at the first “traveling apple and cider museum” event at Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant St., Leominster.

The event, “A Day of Art in the Orchard,” pays homage to the apple’s iconic cultural status, with ten plein air painters scattered throughout the orchard and painting workshops for children and adults.

The traveling museum draws attention to New England’s seminal apple history, with a mix of heirloom and modern varieties. Leominster is the birthplace of one of the apple’s most famous and enduring champions: John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.

Russell Steven Powell. (Bar Lois Weeks)

Nearly 20 varieties of early season apples will be on display from 11 different orchards in three states! Russell Steven Powell, author of this blog and Apples of New England and America’s Apple, will describe the history and best uses of each apple.

The event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here are the confirmed apples and schedule:

(click on the apple or orchard’s name for more information)

The Big Apple, Wrentham, Massachusetts: Dandee RedGravensteinPaula Red

Brookdale Fruit Farm, Hollis, New Hampshire: Zestar!

Carlson Orchards, Harvard, Massachusetts: Premier Honeycrisp

Green Mountain Orchards, Putney, Vermont: Premier Honeycrisp

Mountain Orchard, Granville, Massachusetts: Red GravensteinTydeman

Park Hill Orchard, Easthampton, Massachusetts: Ginger Gold, Paula Red

Pine Hill Orchards, Colrain, Massachusets: Wealthy

Red Apple Farm, Phillipston, Massachusetts: Duchess of Oldenburg,  Ginger GoldGravensteinPaula RedPuritan

Scott Farm Orchard, Dummerston, Vermont: Dolgo CrabGravensteinLamb Abbey PearmainSt. Edmund’s RussetWorcester Pearmain

Sholan Farms, Leominster, Massachusetts: Early CortlandGinger GoldMarshall McIntosh, Zestar!

Tougas Family Farm, Northborough, Massachusetts: AkaneSansaSunrise

FRESH CIDER will be provided by Carlson Orchards, Harvard, Massachusetts.

The day’s program and schedule:

10 a.m. to noon 

Jan Ruby-Crystal.

Artist Jan Ruby-Crystal will lead a painting workshop for children with apples and the orchard as themes. Supplies will be provided.

Ruby-Crystal is an artist, an educator, and a curious observer of nature. As the founder of Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary’s Art House in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Jan has created new opportunities to celebrate the connection among art, science, and nature. Her books, Artie and Caddies Great Art Adventure and Please Don’t feed your Cookie to that Squirrel! have provided her with additional opportunities to seek art as it appears in nature and help children differentiate their stuffed and animated animal pals from the real wildlife around them. Her artwork is exhibited in New York City and western Massachusetts.

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Mark Richardson.

Russell Steven Powell will display and describe more than 15 early season apple varieties grown at New England orchards.

11:30 a.m. to noon

Mark Richardson, horticulturist at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, will talk about the value of heirloom apples and Tower Hill’s expanded preservation orchard. 

1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

People are encouraged to sign up for Jan Ruby-Crystal’s afternoon workshop for older children and adults. Supplies will be provided.

1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Paul Correnty.

Chef Paul Correnty will give a talk on the history of New England cider from the Revolutionary era to the present. He is one of the founders of the CiderDays festival in Franklin County and author of The Art of Cidermaking. A chef by trade, he recently retired as foodservice director for the Harvard Public Schools and is now chief fermenting officer for the makers of Carlson Orchards ciders.

1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

Jack Donahue.

Jack Donoghue, a veteran homebrewer for over 20 years and a member of Valley Fermenters, will give a hard cider-making demonstration, covering the basic steps of juice, yeast, time, and bottling. 

3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Russell Steven Powell will repeat his morning presentation, displaying and describing more than 15 early season apples grown at New England orchards.

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Mark Richardson, horticulturist at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, will repeat his morning presentation about heirloom apples and Tower Hill’s expanded preservation orchard.

Throughout the day, there will be:

  • Orchard tours
  • Artists painting among the trees (bios below)
  • Apples and fresh cider for sale
  • Food and live music 

Participating artists:

HEIGHT OF THE SEASON, Karen Bird.

Karen Bird‘s small works “reflect intimate scenes of the beauty that surrounds us everyday, but are often overlooked as we focus on the larger view of the world.” Her art has been featured in the Fitchburg Art Museum’s annual regional show, as well as the Parish Center for the Arts annual exhibit in Westford, Massachusetts. Her work has earned numerous awards, and she has been featured on the Daily Paintworks website as a “Facebook Pick of the Day.” She lives in Leominster, Massachusetts; contact her at kbird@birdworksdesign.com

Amy Byron is from Bolton, Massachusetts. Her primary media are watercolor and ink. She plein air paints in central Massachusetts, and teaches chemistry and biology. She loves the symmetry of the natural world. She posts her artwork on Instagram.

Debra Cootware began painting professionally in Las Vegas, where she designed and executed murals for homes. More recently in Greenfield, Massachusetts, she has been accepting commissions to paint landscapes, portraits, and pet portraits. She loves to paint en plein air! She seeks to bring the peace and joy she experiences in nature into lives through her artwork. You can see more of her artwork at Twist, Dab & Throw.

APPLE, by Rich Mackin.

Christine Copeland of Northfield, Massachusetts, came back to painting and drawing after a long hiatus of professional work in communications and graphic design. “Now I paint and draw for the sole purpose of creating a visual narrative, either representational or abstract. My subject matter is the natural world. Water is used abundantly with acrylics, watercolor, or oils to illustrate flow, the alternation of generations in moss, the ephemeral nature of wildflowers. The swipe of a rigger brush conveys the movement of migratory shad in their murky environment. To share this focus on the mysteries of life processes is my way of connecting with others so we may all see the beauty and feel protective of our natural heritage.”

Christine has a deep connection with apples, having worked for New England Apple Association in the 1990s! Her website is bcc-studios.com.

Ana Hedberg graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Western Michigan University. “I discovered watercolor by accident in 2018, after moving from Michigan to Massachusetts, becoming a housewife and trying to occupy my sudden free time. I like how unpredictable watercolor can be, how forgiving yet challenging it is. I enjoy nature and wildlife, whether observing it or absorbed in it. Painting nature in watercolor brings both fluidity and randomness together in a rewarding and gratifying way.” Her Facebook page is Ana Hedberg WaterArte.

UNTITLED, Amy Byron.

Yvonne Hemingway has been working in watercolors for the past 30 years, capturing the beauty of nature with her award-winning paintings of florals, birds, and landscapes. Her paintings have recently been juried into shows with the New England Watercolor Society and Bennington Center for the Arts, and exhibited at Gallery Twist in Lexington, Massachusetts.  She is a signature member of the New England Watercolor Society, and active in local art groups including Leominster Art Association, Princeton Arts Society, and Central Mass Plein Air Painters. See more of her work at Yvonne Hemingway.

Rich Mackin is a native New Englander currently living in his hometown of Norwalk, Connecticut, after graduating from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His creative endeavors have ranged from surrealist art college, zine publishing in the ’90s, spoken word performance, singing in punk bands, and pet portraits. His work may be seen on Instagram.

LONG SHADOWS, Debra Cootware.

Melissa Pandina is an award-winning artist whose work has been internationally published and sold. Her work centers on portraiture and bringing peoples’ stories to life. She has been featured in Professional Artist Magazine and had artwork exhibited in the Berkshire Museum of Art and Framingham Art Museum. She has done public art pieces across Massachusetts including a mural for Electrify Amherst, two bears for Easthampton Bearfest, and two dogs for Westminster’s Crackerfest. Oil is her primary medium, although she also works with egg tempera, acrylic, and watercolor. She teaches noncredit painting at Holyoke Community College.

Nicole Pertelesi is an art therapist who works in multimedia, acrylic, and watercolors. She grew up in Dutchess County New York, and now lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. Her Instagram and YouTube accounts are under Create to Speak.

Krystyna Polomski, a Massachusetts native, caught the plein air bug while living and working out west in California and Utah for 15 years. “But there’s no place like home,” she says, and she now enjoys her retirement by painting the landscape every chance she gets.

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