The Lit'ry Life 2018: Painting by Carolyn Herbert

"Your Local Gem"

—Carolyn Herbert
Wilmington, Vermont

It’s never too late

Anyone who lives in Harvard, or near by, instantly recognizes the scene in this painting as the summertime concerts at Fruitlands Museum. That is a jewel for all those who have visited the museum’s concerts and programs presented at this fabulous museum.

That is what I thought, when I first moved to Harvard and saw my first concert. We packed a picnic lunch, drove a big station wagon full of friends and their children to Fruitlands for the weekly summer evening concert. I thought what fun for the kids, playing Frisbee, baseball, hula-hoop or football in the fields, while the parents enjoyed libations and prepared their dinner. Then the children would return to the gathering, sit down to a gourmet meal while the orchestra was tuning up to begin the music. We all watched the sun set over majestic Mount Monadnock, so colorful and restful.

Each time I went to another concert I took pictures of various groups: like families with wagons, the colorful backs of sand chairs, tables with candelabrum settings, kids directing the orchestra, and children dressed in costumes. The sunsets were different with the weather and the orchestra always in their black, white, and yellow sets. All this for the picture I hoped to paint one day. I thought I must have settled smack dab in heaven. As time went on, I wondered what a wonderful painting this could be. Why doesn’t someone paint this picture?

Then I started painting with a group of talented friends from Harvard, who were accomplished painters. I told them of my dream but that I was too old now to paint. So I asked, “Who would like to paint this for me? “ There were no takers for that. Their reply was, “You will paint it yourself some day!”

After moving from Harvard to Vermont, I was diagnosed with cancer. During my treatment I was assigned a hospice person to help me deal with my cancer treatment. It turned out she also was a painter.

As I told her of my dream to paint this picture, she said “You can paint your picture.” “Really!” While I didn't believe her, another friend sent me a huge piece of pallet paper. Now I had to get on with it. I decided to use pastels because my friends had used them and they were fun. This friend showed me how to divide my picture into squares and paint in each square. Five months later I was working day and night while my painting grew. I felt like Grandma Moses, who didn’t start painting until she was in her 70’s. Then, one night I finished my dream. I couldn’t believe it.

I thought Fruitlands might like to have a look at my picture. They liked what they saw, and I am now donating my painting to the museum, so that they can display it for those who visit now and in the future.

If you have a dream with a goal, don’t stop pursuing it. It took me 50 years, but now my goal is realized and available to share with all those who enjoy the summer concerts and offerings at your gem, Fruitlands Museum.

—Carolyn Herbert

Carolyn lived with her husband Bill on Park Lane for 43 years before moving to Vermont. Her original painting is on display at Fruitlands.

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