I can’t believe it has been so long since my last blog entry! I have been doing a lot of painting, and the most intense period of painting was, naturally, the Bartlett Artists’ weekend of May 13-17. We faced some challenges from the weather, but rain was not our biggest problem. Wind was. In fact, at its worst, I would go so far as to opine that the wind made me more miserable than the subzero temps at the Sugar Hill snow camp.
Fewer artists attended the Weekend than usual, but we had the best time ever, and I personally had my most productive Bartlett Weekend ever. Byron Carr, who lives in Contoocook, is the guy we thank for organizing the weekend, and Miriam and Nick, the Innkeepers, are as much a part of our group as the painters themselves. In fact, Nick has become one of us painters. He has been taking classes in acrylics, and joined us up at Jackson Falls one afternoon.
Peter Granucci, from whom I have taken many workshops, joined us Saturday for his first Bartlett Weekend. Showing us he was no slouch, Peter produced a gigantic (24 by 30?) and brilliant painting on canvas of a Jackson Falls water-and-rocks scene. I was blown away, and I don’t think I was the only one. But the weekend was full of inspiration for me too. Unlike other weekends, I started painting as soon as I arrived on Thursday, and got up with the others, at 5 am Saturday morning–before breakfast–to catch the clouds breaking up over the valley in the scene above.
My roommates for the first night were my granddaughter Tabitha (I’ve mentioned her before) and her Great Dane, Honey (see her portrait here). They left on Friday, when Flo joined me for the rest of my stay. This was Flo’s first Bartlett weekend, and she painted some beautiful paintings, as she usually does.
Sharon Allen can always be counted on for a Bartlett weekend. For my first one, I followed her around like a little puppy dog. Sharon runs the NH Plein Air group, and we so love her for that work. I still follow her around, but less like a puppy dog now. We so often agree on what is worth painting, even though our interpretations diverge widely.
I only have photos of my own work, so here they are:
This was painted from the porch of Willey cabin, which was my assigned room at the Bartlett Inn, on the Thursday evening of my arrival. I am still putting perfecting touches on the road. 8×10
Friday morning, Sharon and I were inspired to paint the Notchland Inn from a parking area on the other side of Route 302. The North Conway Scenic Railroad passes this way enroute to the Crawford Notch Depot, and I made the crossing the focus of my painting. Sharon stayed farther away and left out the tracks. Conveniently, Tabitha and Honey stopped to say goodbye on their way home, and Flo saw us and stopped on her way to the Inn. 11×14
Friday afternoon: This is a part of Jackson Falls. The Falls go on and on, and provide an almost infinite variety of arrangements of water and rocks. After taking this image, I made some perfecting touches, but you get the idea. I used a lot of palette knife on this one. 11×14.
I finished up kind of quick on the painting above, and so I started this smaller one (8×10), looking up the Falls toward the bridge. Sharon and Flo were also painting nearby, and I believe Nick and Byron were there that day too. 8×10
Saturday: Sharon had found such a perfect spot for painting by following a street sign “Balcony Seat View”, figuring it had to mean something interesting. The street wasn’t paved, but it led to a huge meadow in Mt. Washington Valley where we could get fantastic views of White Horse ledge on the left and Cathedral Ledge on the right, with a patch of blindingly yellow flowers in the middle. The place was overrun by cocker spaniels and their owners in the midst of some big deal trials, but they didn’t get in our way and we stayed out of theirs. They came with a porta-potty! Doesn’t get much better than that for a plein air painter. The above is my capture of the ledges. 10×12
After finishing the Ledges above, I moved to a little wooden bridge that connected to the larger meadowlands, and captured this portrait of a fallen tree over the brook. 6×12
Saturday afternoon: Attracted by the redness in the waterline, Sharon, Flo and I tackled this pond from different angles. We were near the Inn, right on Route 302 again.
Saturday night: Like all Saturday nights in the past, we put all our paintings on display in the living room of the Inn, but unlike years past, Byron did not favor us with a demonstration of his watercolor painting. And this year was different in another important way: I sign the praises of Louise, Byron’s wife, who made lasagna for our dinner. It was scrumptious lasagna, and a vast improvement over the traditional pizza that we usually order in for Saturday night. If getting Louise’s lasagna is the price of giving up Byron’s demo, it’s OK by me.
Sunday: We checked out after breakfast, but Flo and I planned to paint before heading home together. The 6×12 painting above is my take on the railroad crossing in the center of Bartlett. Tracks not easy to do. I spent about a hour on location, but made some changes to it when I got it home. Not sure if it is a keeper, but interesting perspective, I guess. Could use feedback.
Sunday. View of Mt. Washington from meadow off Route 302, just inside the edge of the state park. Very, very windy. I set up behind a large boulder, hoping it would shelter me. Flo set up on the tailgate of her SUV, hoping the same. No. The sun was hard to manage too. I don’t paint with sun on my painting any more, not since I tried that once and the painting came out way too dark. This scene is the same as one I painted last fall. You can compare by going to this page where I have set the two side by side. 16×12