Featured Artwork: When Sap Runs

F. Earl Williams of When Sap Runs on display
A late 1930s photo by F. Earl Williams of When Sap Runs on display in front of the
Southwick Studio's North Window with Apple Tree Window, out of its frame on the floor

RSW's Diary Comments

 The old Orcutt house on Orcutt Hill in Buckland
The old Orcutt house on Orcutt Hill in Buckland

"Painted prior to 1930. An upright of a decorative group of bare sugar maple boles, with red sap buckets hanging on them at sugaring time, flesh colored, matted leaves and flat lichened ledges in the steep foreground, pale grayish yellow sky back of the trees. Painted from opposite the old Orcutt house on Orcutt Hill in Buckland. A painting Robert Frost especially liked when he had it for a while at his home in Amherst. Sold July 1952 to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest F. Goodner, 2090 Wilmington Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah."

Comments on the back of a sepia print:

"One of my most decorative sugaring pictures."

Additional Notes

Springfield Art League's Fine Exhibition
Imagine of clipping, source unknown

Boston Globe, March 10, 1931, by A. J. Philpott

"And there is that splendid picture which tells the maple sugar romance entitled When Sap Runs. That is a gem."

Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 11, 1932

"For instance, there is Mr. Woodward's depiction of a bit of a maple grove at the season, When Sap Runs, the small red buckets attached to the trees, adding gay notes to the tranquil countryside."

Boston Herald, Oct. 16, 1932

"When Sap Runs is a decorative arrangement of salmon and coppery tones and the grey trunks and bare branches of trees in early spring. It is also by Mr. Woodward."

Boston Post, Feb., 1931

"....Mr. Woodward sees, feels, and appreciates the country that he paints. And sometimes he tinges friendly feeling with a gentle, kindly humor. The artist, of course, sees differently from the layman; he has learned first how to see and then how to make others see with him. For instance, in When Sap Runs, he shows us the beauty of bare tall trunks and spreading branches of sugar maples that rise skyward from gray rocks and that peculiar soft pinkish color left behind by autumn leaves, tying them together with gay little knots of red sap buckets, the whole an interesting pattern of line and mass and color with an added element of human interest for which no figures are needed."

Recollection of the old Orcutt House by Dr. Mark Purinton

"As I now look at the image of this old white house at the top of Orcutt Hill Road, three memories flow through this 92 year old's brain:

(1) It was my most outlying destination for the daily delivery of my area for the Recorder Gazzette Newspaper. Signing up the homeowners had won me a trip to the 1939 World's Fair in New York City for obtaining, 'the most new subscriptions to the paper in a small town.' I was 13 years old which meant daily trips to the top of Orcutt Hill with my bike or sled!

(2) At one time when the house was uninhabited, it was used temporarily to house the 3 Smith children (an Upper Street neighborhood family) who were banished there because of Scarlet Fever. I can remember the big sign on the house: 'QUARANTEED - Scarlet Fever. Do not enter.'

(3) Sometime in the 1930s, when I was reletively young, I recall seeing this huge red glow over Orcutt Hill from Upper Street. It was the old house burning to the ground after being struck by lightning. The house was never rebuilt. Its fieldstone cellar walls are still visible from the road.

MLP January 2019


Graphic of the trees we believe still show today
Graphic of the trees we believe still show today
Believed to be the trees today
This could be the foreground tree or the one behind it.
Believed to be the trees today
This is the split "V" tree and its neighbor to the right.

Some "go-getting" Friends of Woodward enthusiast searched the area across from the old Orcutt House on Orcutt Hill and identified the possible localtion of this painting. The pictures certainly make a compelling argument. We wish to thank Sal Spenser for the pictures and Sal, as well as, Janet Gerry for securing the old picture of the Old Orcutt Hill House.