Left: Warm Afternoon (Shepherdess), 1878, watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paper, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
Right: Girl with Hay Rake, 1878, watercolor on paper, Gift of Ruth K. Henschel in memory of her husband, Charles R. Henschel
Homer spent several months during the summer and late fall of 1878 at Houghton Farm, the country residence of a patron in Mountainville, New York. There he created dozens of watercolors of farm girls and boys playing and pursuing various tasks, including Warm Afternoon. Painted quickly and often outdoors, these watercolors present idyllic scenes of rural life that follow in the European tradition of pastoral painting.