As promised, I have returned from our semiannual getaway to Mount Washington Valley with landscapes of the North Country. Despite still feeling out of sorts, I pulled myself together enough to produce five small paintings. I felt inadequate, so I took only 8×10 panels and a packet of 9×12 carton papers. This morning I took the photographs, and I guess they aren’t so bad. All were dry, already! I use a lot of Michael Harding paints, which are slower drying than some for some artists, but for me, they dry fast.
Starting from the beginning, Friday morning, we gathered at “Fourth Iron”, a railroad bridge over the Saco River, near the highway (Route 302), with a parking lot made to order for painters and fishermen. We had four new painters with us: Bea Bearden, Kitty Clark, Jeri Bothamley, and Michele Fennel. The “seasoned” painters were Byron Carr (the organizer of the weekend), Sharon Allen (the keeper of NHPleinAir artists), and Jim O’Donnell. We were later joined by Morgan, a regular whose last name has not made it into my memory bank, and newbie Ruth Sears and her guy friend Joe. Add to that mix the innkeepers Miriam and Nick Jacques, and you’ve got quite a lively group, ready to paint and party.
Back to the Fourth Iron. Some of us, including me, painted the bridge; others painted the mountains; still others split off to paint nearby at the Notchland Inn, which, I learned for the first time, has a parlor designed by Gustav Stickley. I have a painting of the Notchland Inn somewhere in my piles of landscapes, and an earlier one of Fourth Iron. Before Hurricane Irene washed out the original road and trees, we had to hike in a little bit to get a good view of the bridge, or scramble down the riverbank to get this view we now get from the parking lot, which was created from the remains of the original road:
After lunch, we headed south to North Conway, to an area called Flat Rocks Conservation area, and found a spot on the shoulder of the road where we had nice, unobstructed views of the rocky stream flowing by. We were interrupted by a serious rainstorm, so I never “finished” the painting.
After coming in for the evening, it is our custom to take in what we have been working on and lean them against whatever we can find back at the Inn, mantels, window sills, floors. Luckily, the dog Noodles pays no attention to the wet paintings (mostly oils, a few watercolors) on the floor, and he is not a shedder (“cockapoo”–I painted his portrait as a puppy years ago). A few artists told me they liked my “stone bridge”. They were not, I later learned, referring to the iron bridge built on the stony embankment. So a lousy rendition of a big rock is now officially transformed into the shadowed tunnel under an imaginary but charming stone bridge.
Saturday, Sharon and I went exploring for potential new painting spots in the valley. We stopped at two farmhouses to interview the farmers (of alpacas and strawberries, respectively) about a mysterious road that showed up on Sharon’s GPS. When that investigation bore no fruit, we returned to North Conway to paint behind the restaurant where we ate Thursday night. Mary, the proprietress had told us we were welcome to paint there anytime, and it was a fantastic view across the valley with the Saco River cutting through. I, however, turned my back on that view and took on the fantastical restaurant itself. Ambitious.
Mary brought us coffee and two huge slices of gluten-free chocolate cake, so that was lunch and so much for sticking to my diet. We finished up about two thirty and went back to the Inn (Bartlett Inn). A very tall, very old white birch was still standing on the grounds in front of the cabins, and it was slated for removal, so Sharon and I each painted a portrait of it, dead but still beautiful.
That evening, as is our custom, all of the artworks were produced for comment. This is when I learned of the Stone Bridge. When asked which of my paintings was my favorite, I said the birch. Either the company disagreed with me, or they were anxious to help me make it better–whatever, it elicited several points of criticism: the foreground rock was too prominent and should probably be removed totally; the background green was . . . too strong?; the tree on the left was too distracting–it should be de-emphasized by bringing in branches crossing in front, or perhaps (my own suggestion) soften its edges (that is magenta on its right edge!). What do you think?
Sundays we usually pack up, check out of the Inn, and look for one last painting location before wending our ways home. Thanks to Sharon the explorer, this year we collected near a marshy area south of Conway, at Dollof Pond, with a view of Mount Washington. I looked it up on Google maps and found another pond nearby that I wish we could paint just for its name: Pea Porridge Pond. Oh, well, cheating not allowed.
Thus ended the tenth annual Spring Getaway. I felt strangely unfulfilled. The next morning, Monday Life Group got me out of bed and into the studio. I brought a used panel, not even sanded down, not even toned over. To reduce distractions from the old painting, I applied a layer of burnt sienna, then added Gamblin’s Fast Matte ultramarine blue. Of course, these underlayers would not dry in time for me to paint over them, so I was asking for trouble, double trouble. The photo below isn’t good either, because light catches the wet paint on all those little protrusions. I dialed the exposure down to minimize the light bumps for you.
Something about this painting really appeals to me. The flesh may be a little “muddy” but color is all relative anyway, so I’m not bothered by that. What thrills me is that her right leg looks so real, so fleshy! Her face isn’t bad either. If only I had just a little more time to bring all of it up to that level of accomplishment.
Now I am moving into Panic Mode over the imminence of my Featured Artist stint at East Colony. I have to “hang” this coming Saturday!! OMG. But then it will be done and all I have to do is enjoy. I am paired with Larry Donovan, an artist whose works I noticed long ago at East Colony, so I feel quite honored to be in this position. Who’d a thunk a few years ago, when I hardly knew what was up? We are looking forward to seeing all our friends and collectors at the reception on Sunday, June 8th, from two to four. He wanted two to five, but I am just not up to three hours on my feet, making nice.
I am looking forward to seeing YOU if you are at all able to come, if not to the reception, then at some point between May 24 and June 28. Let me know when you are in town and I will try to be at the Gallery.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (both are in Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn and Bernerhof Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter; in the lower level of the Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH; and at her studio by appointment (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
You may also view paintings with prices and order prints at my Fine Art America page. If the painting you are interested in is not there, or if you prefer to bypass that experience, you may contact me using the private feedback form below. If you want to add a public comment to this blog, go to the bottom of this page where it says “Leave a Reply”, and enter your comment in that box. I love to get public comments, so don’t be shy!
What a great swag of work Aline! I think there are some rippers here. Your technique looks fresh and I love the greens of water and foliage. The birch tree painting is strong. A teacher told me about ‘lost and found’ edges recently and I think obscuring some of the edges of the darker tree by varying the value of the background and the bark here and there would return more focus to the birch. I also think your painting on the following Monday was similarly fresh (flesh)! Your week outdoors paid off indoors as well. All the best for the opening. Cheers, Philippa
You are so encouraging. Thank you. Lost and found edges are truly helpful. But sometimes, I lose focus myself.