I’ve been painting so much lately that I have not had time to blog. Today’s blog, therefore, will cover a lot of activity. On the menu are three pure landscapes and three figures in the landscape. You have seen earlier versions of two of the latter, so we’ll start with those even though my changes to the originals represent my most recent activities.
I felt I had to fix the arm in Black Kimono. That is kind of a dangerous thing to do, especially since I had no photo reference, or if maybe I did take one, I forgot to look for it. I just plunged ahead, building a right arm where I felt it should be, given where the left arm was. The right arm still disappears behind her thigh, but the angle is more natural, and the plumpness of the forearm conveys the message better. I am not declaring Black Kimono “done” yet because I am considering whether to add some pale streaks of lights reflecting off the kimono, so as to better delineate the leg underneath. I hesitate because the result will be gray, and that can just look messy.
I have not had much experience with black. In fact, I used to not carry a tube of black with me at all. If I needed black, I would just mix the darkest available colors, usually ultramarine blue and burnt umber. I learned that in one of the first courses I took at the Institute. Peter Dixon was teaching color theory and Renaissance painting, and combined both of them in the same room at the same time. So I picked up basic color theory along with grisaille and glazing. Black was not used for either course. Since then, I have encountered many other teachers who make “black” with their own combination of darks.
Yesterday morning we met again in the Lessard garden with our nude model. You’d think with another three hours to work on something that seemed really close to finished after the first three hours, that it would be perfect now, and I even could have started a second painting. Alas, not so. I’m less happy with it now than I was last week. Maybe happiness is a function of the number of hours expended on something. Longer generates higher expectations, perhaps higher than achievable.
Her new face is what bothers me the most, but I also see background “errors”. And one of the reasons for spending the extra time–improving the patterns of light and shadow on the figure–just don’t dazzle like I hoped. It seems that just when I feel I am making significant progress of that ladder of artistic proficiency, I come up short and get knocked back a peg or two. Did I just mix a metaphor? How embarrassing! I used to be so good with the English grammar stuff.
While we are looking at figures in the landscape, let’s check out the Last Pose of Summer–the last one in David Curtis’ garden. Our model Mary Ann brought a costume reminiscent of Gibson Girls–between Victorian and the Roaring Twenties. On top of her filmy white gown, she wore a dusty pink lace coat. Dusty pink is close to the color of skin in shade. How hard will that be to depict!
I kind of think I nailed it. I would have liked to capture more definite leg shapes, but it was windy and the fabric kept swirling around her so as to prevent any sort of definitive anything. Go with the flow, I say. So I did.
For the pure landscape selections, we have another local back yard, one to dream of, a trip southward to a vista of brackish marshes, and tree portrait from the Boston Arboretum. However interesting these scenes might be to a viewer, to this artist they felt dreary for the lack of a human presence. Or even a dog presence. I have become quickly spoiled by my good fortune in David Curtis’ garden. Still it is good to be outside painting:
This really is in the back yard of a fellow artist, Elaine Farmer, who just moved to Amherst and invited us over to paint on her fabulous garden. But we can’t resist water. And there was a little foot bridge over the stream, whence I painted.
The Cox Reservation is located in Essex, Massachusetts. David Curtis and a group of his followers meet up there regularly to paint. I have actually painted this scene before, when Sharon Allen and I were exploring the Essex National Heritage Area. As I was driving down, I resolved not to get sucked back in with this vista, but rather to find something interesting, preferably with flowers, to paint close up. So much for resolutions. I hate vistas. They are so hard! When I started on this one, there wasn’t even any water to paint, but as the tide rose, it got better. But why was I even there? I don’t know. Something in my afterlife must have required it. No, I have it! I just compared it to the earlier one (linked above), and it seems my vistas have improved somewhat since 2012. Yea!
Finally, the Smoke Tree. I had to deliver a painting to the Arboretum anyway, so I decided to make a day of it and paint something. No vistas this time. I went looking for flowers, and found mostly flowering trees, which is not something very common at the end of summer. This bush (“tree” is reserved for bushes that grow a lot higher) was located at the top of Bussey Hill. Luckily, there was a road to get me there. (They let me have a driving permit because I couldn’t carry my gear all that way, and I do have handicapped privileges due to the arthritis in my back.) I labored over the Smoke Bush so much harder than I should have had to, and I suspect that is because I had the time to do so. Had a model been present to paint, the tree gets abstracted in the background.
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 in Bartlett and the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; 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; a single painting is on view for one more week at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester; at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester; 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!