"Painted prior to 1930. A large sugaring picture, hemlock and maple woods, a steep straggly hillside in the foreground, a team of horses drawing a red gathering tub down a rutted wood road in the upper middle distance. Red sap buckets, of course, scattered among the trees, lingering snow drifts here and there. Shown at the National Academy in N. Y. in...then at the Annual Exhibition of the Springfield Art League (Mass.) where it was awarded in...This canvas hung several seasons in Miss Alice Brown's Sweetheart Tea House. A very impressive canvas, but never sold (1947)"
"Painted in H. L. Keach's sugar orchard in Buckland. The drawing of the trees is remarkable."
"Awarded First Landscape Prize in 1937, Springfield Art League Exhibition, Springfield, Mass."..
"Robert Strong Woodward of Shelburne Falls won the $100 prize for the best landscape with When Drifts Melt Fast.
This prize winning picture has a very recognizable quality that makes it kin to Mr. Woodward's other work, a clarity of
vision, a delicacy of interpretation and a masterly technique. Here is a New England scene distilled to its poetical
essence in color and light, a thawing muddy wood road, snow filled to the ruts, the bare maple trees each flaunting a
scarlet sap bucket and yonder in the distance the plodding team and rough wagon with the driver who has been collecting
the sap. The creation of still, sparkling cold with no medium but paint, is achievement enough. One detailed comment I
cannot forbear, the drawing of the trees is remarkable. With full light upon the bare trunks and leaden sky behind them
they have been almost outlined in black and the further emphasis this gives the light upon them as well as the way it makes
them live is surprising. Mr. Woodward seems to have identified himself in spirit with his trees.:"
"A brilliant work, full of the vitality and rhythm of spring surgings, red buckets on gray trunks, horses in the distance dragging their load of gathered sap - sunshine, promise, flickering through the leafless branches - but the inner meaning of the scene is conveyed in the deep irregular ruts of the foreground which the load has left in its trail." (Flora White, Heath, June 3, 1931)
".....perhaps the most splendid of the entire lot is, however, done on a sunless day---a gloriously brilliant hillside, presumably in Vermont, of which one remembers best bluest sky and bright red buckets on the sugar maples. This is Robert Strong Woodward's When Drifts Melt Fast. It won a prize from the Springfield Art League and it is easy to see why....."
"It is no wonder that the big picture, When Drifts Melt Fast, took first prize at the Springfield Art League Show a few years ago. For that is a notable picture, not only in the virile manner in which it is painted, but in the whole character of the composition...."