A Month of Beckys

My life is just a little bit crazy right now, what with retirement deadline looming and two major art events coming up next week.  Yet here I am, whiling away the national holiday making good on my promise to post weekly.  It’s a Good Thing though, this weekly blog, perhaps as important as all those other important things.  For however long the internet lasts, it will remind me of where I was on Memorial Day of 2013, just before those three major milestones.

(I’m glad at my age to still be counting milestones other than birthdays!)

So, to get to the point:  Major Art Event No. 1 is taking place this coming Sunday, June 2, in Boston.  From noon until 6 p.m., I with 71 other artists will be participating in the Beacon Hill Art Walk.  It’s not your typical urban art show in that many of the artists will be set up in gardens and on firescapes.  Bruce and I, however, are setting up a conventional tent right at the S(tart) point on Cambridge Street shown on the map here.  I introduced you to Bruce Jones last week as my partner in this Beacon Hill venture.  It’s the first of its kind for both of us, possibly the first of many partnerships if this experience is a happy one.   I’ve decided to go eclectic with my display, meaning a couple of landscapes, a couple of figurative works, and my steam locomotive.

Maine Central No. 501

Engine 501, depicting the real life orphan at the North Conway train station, has been looking for a forever home via the Bartlett Inn for at least a year now.  Maybe Boston will be the place where it comes together with the right guardian.  (For those of you in the dark, “forever home” and “guardian” is animal rescue speak, dear to my heart.)

Major Art Event No. 2:   I am opening at the East Colony Fine Art Gallery.  Some weeks ago I was juried into this artists’ cooperative gallery, located in the Langer Place Building, the very same building where I conduct my figure drawing sessions, and where the Hatfield Gallery is located, where I also exhibit.  Friday I hung six pieces, all of them plein air landscapes.  All are, of course, my favorites.  (But I have more favorites left, to take to Boston.)  My first reception as a member of this gallery takes place on Friday, June 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.  I would love to see all my friends there, cheering me on, especially those (you know who you are) who have complained I don’t do enough to market myself.

Back to the business of Becky:  I have three new paintings to show you, none of them exactly “finished”, but I may not ever touch them again since I got what I needed from my efforts.

In the red sweater

In the red sweater

I love the texture of the bare, clear-primed canvas and so my leaving the background unfinished was a choice.  Nevertheless, it will probably be classified as a work in progress if it survives a few hundred years.  Painting a clothed model was a change of pace, one that I enjoyed very much, but I guess I was in the minority because the following week when Becky asked if we wanted her clothed, the response “No!” rang out.  So I painted this:

The Faraway Gaze

The Faraway Gaze

I couldn’t finish this one simply because of the size of the canvas:  I chose to bring in a 20×16 canvas on stretchers, which I would never use for plein air so why not?   I knew I had better concentrate on the face, then the chest since I could leave the background and the hair to memory or invention or both.  Everyone, including myself, thought my lips (the ones I painted) were great.  What makes them work, though,  is how well I painted the chin and philtrum–lips don’t exist in isolation.  OK, check off lips;  next up is noses.  Her nose here is pretty good, which gives me hope.  Becky’s ear is amazingly simple–most people have complex ears, lots of folds and dips and valleys.  I think I will make Becky’s ear my template for ears so I don’t use up so much time on them.  Nobody really cares what happens inside the ear as long as its placement is correct,  the shape is correct, and the tilt is correct.


From the large to the small:  this painting is only 10×8 and it felt even smaller to me because I was trying to get the whole figure in.  It’s hard to paint small, I discovered–that little stroke that does the job on a bigger canvas makes a blob on the small canvas, and sometimes wipes out a nuance I had been counting on.  I thought if I went small I would end up with a small, completed jewel of a painting.  Ha!  But this one could be a jewel with just a few corrections here and there, and maybe tomorrow I will get a chance to make those corrections.  That depends on the other members of the gang.  Most will probably prefer to move on to a different pose.  I must say, it was nice to paint the other side of Becky’s face for a change!

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at Stella Blu , an American Tapas restaurant in Nashua; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester (part of the Healing with Art program) and at her studio by appointment.  Through May 31, nine of her Boston Arboretum paintings are on display at the Leach Library in Londonderry, NH.  On Sunday, June 2, she will be participating in the Beacon Hill Art Walk, in Boston.

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