River Bend Farm in Uxbridge is a beautiful location. There’s the traditional red farm which has a visitor’s center within it. Then the farmland is right on the Blackstone Canal. This is one of the best locations on its entire stretch to see what the canal was once like.
Until the early 1800s, traveling around central Massachusetts was fraught with trouble. The woods were thick. There were wolves and other dangers. Either you were trudging through deep snow in the winter or dealing with swarms of bugs in the summer.
It was nearly impossible for any trading to get done.
Finally in 1823 the Blackstone Canal Company was formed. Its mission was to create an easy-to-navigate canal connecting Providence to Worcester. This would then open trade up to the entire world via the Narragansett Bay.
Construction went fairly quickly – they began in 1825 and were completely done with the first travel on October 7, 1828. It took two days for one of the slender canal boats to make its way from one end of the course to another.
They expected the canal system to last hundreds of years.
Unfortunately for them, the railroads saw the opportunity and quickly moved in. By 1848 the canal was shut down. The railroad had taken over that quickly.
Come on out with us to get a solid look at this amazing part of our history!
Talented, amazing artist Michael Graves has showcased his art in the Massachusetts State House as well as in countless galleries. He’ll be leading our adventure today! He’ll begin with a short demo, so you can see what plein air painting is all about. Then he’ll offer advice and suggestions as you all explore your painting skills!
If you’ve never done a plein air paint before, you might read: Plein Air Painting – Preparing for your First Outing. If you don’t have supplies, we’ll bring watercolors, brushes, and paper. Bring a water bottle and something stiff like a small cutting board to tape the paper to.
If you’d like to bring a beach chair to sit on, and snacks / drinks, feel free.
Please let us know via our contact form if you’re planning on coming, so we know to wait for you. It’ll be a great morning of learning about photography and exploring our Blackstone River history!
Location and Time
River Bend Farm
287 Oak Street
9:30am – 2pm (or so, feel free to leave earlier)
Michael Graves is a nationally-recognized landscape artist based in central Massachusetts. As a plein air artist, Graves paints on location, braving the elements, to capture the many moods and temperaments of the natural world. Over a 30 year career, Graves has received over 70 awards and medals, been featured in a variety of books and publications, and inducted into numerous national art associations.
Although Graves has taken painting trips throughout North America, and parts of Europe and Asia, his favorite subjects continue to be of the simple farms, bucolic vistas, and rugged coasts of his native New England. His artwork is and has been exhibited in dozens of galleries throughout the U.S. and is included in the permanent collection of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. His paintings have also been selected eight times for inclusion in the national Arts for the Parks competition of the Top 100 Paintings of National Parks.
Born in 1952, the son of a local tree warden, Graves grew up with a love of painting and a deep appreciation for the outdoors. In the late 1970s, Graves met the renowned Cape Ann artist Bernard Corey (1914-2000). Corey became a lifelong friend and mentor and the two painted together nearly every day for over two decades. Michael Graves is a member of the Rockport Art Association, the Guild of Boston Artists, the Hudson Valley Art Association, and the Old Lyme Art Association. He is a friend and frequent painting companion of some of the most well known plein air artists of New England.
Mike lives in Millbury, Massachusetts with his wife Pam. He has two sons.
This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!
This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.