"Because it has the place of honor, because it treats of a theme that has also been done in crayon and because it really is the most moving canvas in the show, 'Near the Sky' ought to be considered. I have remarked before that Mr. Woodward shows more gift for naming his pictures than is usual among artists. This is a particularly felicitous title. It is a bare winter scene in the hills where one looks across the buildings of a farm, buildings set end to end so that they make a straight line across the picture parallel with the cold hills behind them. Such immensity of sky it would seem impossible to get into even a big canvas like this. It is stark and cold and bare in that picture, but it leaves you tingling because it is 'near the sky.' The crayon from the same theme is softer, just a shade softer in the blue of the hills, a hint less compelling, more to be lived with when one's courage is not quite at top notch and that one Mr. Woodward calls 'New England Winter.'" [Emphasis added by staff. See story below...]
Jeanette Matthews makes the connection between Near the Sky and New England! Winter as having similar "themes." What Matthews means by "themes" we are not sure, however it is safe to say both pieces are at the very least related.
Also, Matthews description of Near the Sky bares a striking resemblance to the piece Courage and Peace and may very well be an earlier version, but we cannot say for certain her description is the Avery Farm from Courage and Peace. See picture below...