A Best Week

Some weeks are so full of reportable stuff that I have trouble choosing my topic.  Other weeks, I have trouble scaring up a single decent topic.  I could save up half of the good-week stuff for a dull week, but who wants to plan for dull weeks?  Not me.  On the other hand, I don’t want to bore you either, and really now, wouldn’t  you rather hear about struggles?  This week I can report on a bit of a struggle and its accompanying triumph so that’s what I lead with.

Part I.  Alpaca Love.  You remember the alpaca farm/ranch from last month?

Alpaca Farm v.1

Alpaca Farm in North Conway

This was the plein air painting from the Bartlett weekend, to which, I announced, I would be adding an alpaca closeup.  I had one good alpaca closeup, so I went with that, even though I’d have preferred the animal to be facing more towards the viewer.  My closeup did not include the legs either, so I was winging it with regard to the posture and thickness and general shape of the legs.

Alpaca Farm v.2

Alpaca Farm v.2

Pretty awful, right?.  I wouldn’t even show it to you before–I couldn’t let it sit out there as if finished when I was going to have to repaint the red alpaca closeup.  First, I had to find a better reference photograph.

As it turned out, when I got around to searching my own photographs, I had plenty of good alpaca poses.   Thanks to my powerful Nikon SLR camera, alpacas photographed in the way distance still gave me enough enlarged detail to paint a loveable blond alpaca in just the right pose, in just the right spot.

Alpaca Farm, v.3 (Final)

Part II:  Supercyclists. Earlier this evening, I delivered two paintings to my son in celebration of his birthday.  One of them  you have seen already.

Andy as Supercyclist

It depicts him right after finishing the race up to the top of the Rockpile (Mt. Washington).  Paint still wet on the second one delivered, is my painting of his friend Kori, from the same time, same place.


I love the foreground in Kori’s painting.  Strange that where the focus of the painting is the figure of the cyclist, what I love most is how I painted the ground.  I would have liked to paint the face more expressively, but I didn’t really have room for that.  The two paintings are each 12×9, so the faces are quite small.  I wanted to get the likenesses as close as possible, so I had to be careful.  Andy’s worked out better because I had only light and shadow anyway, but Kori’s nose, mouth, eyebrows had to fall in the exact correct places, and no smearing please.

My major painting plan, for which these two 12x9s have served as studies, is still on, but the faces in the big one are not going to get any bigger since the plan is to encompass the entire rockpile.  I think I need to reuse this scene in a longer painting so as to include more of the shadow, and larger overall, so as to allow more of a slapdash face.

Part II:  Lovely Nudes.  Finally, for a change of pace, how about a collection of lovely nudes from Saturday Life Group?  My best from two weeks ago, and all three from this week:

Arrangement of elbow and knee   

Leg on Blue Draped Pillow

Right Side with bent elbow

The back from a left angle

I am wondering if I am getting too heavy-handed with the charcoal.  The “Leg on Blue Draped Pillow” has more charm to it, I think, because I had the pose for only 20 minutes and had to keep a light touch.  I would like to know if you agree.  Or disagree.  Either way, it was a good week.  Here’s hoping for another one coming up!

Tomorrow (Monday) I pick up my painting from The Rockport (Mass.) Art Association.  Unsold.  They invited me to apply for membership, and I thought I would if my painting sold, but it didn’t, so I didn’t.  A bit far to go for the sheer joy of exhibiting.  Although I do hope to get in a plein air painting day tomorrow, which makes a trip worthwhile.  Also tomorrow, paintings are being changed out at the Sage Gallery in Manchester, 70 Lowell Street.   Please visit this new gallery.

My old website, with multiple painting galleries yet to be transferred to this WordPress location, can be accessed at this address:  www.paintingsbyaline.com.  Also there are  all the images attached to earlier blog entries.  Eventually I will move everything here, but it takes a lot of time.

Bartlett, October 2011

Bike Race spectator on Mt. Washington

In my EEE class last week, I painted one of my studies for the Mt. Washington Bike Race painting, and since it is my favorite painting for the week, I start with it.  The official title is “On the Top of the Rockpile”.  Mt. Washington is, for those of you not from New Hampshire, referred to affectionately as the Rockpile because above treeline, it seems to be nothing more than pile of rocks–quite a few of them loose rocks, which makes the going tough for hikers.  Here at the tip top, the boulders are more civilized.  I painted this painting on a 9×12 art panel that had been first painted with an acrylic cadmium yellow.  You can see some yellow peeking through a thumb print and some smears in the upper right corner.  I had dropped the painting, face-down, on a cat-and-dog-fur loaded carpet when I got home after class.  The figure escaped undamaged, and the rocks conceal any hairy texture (is the painting now “mixed media”?), but I tried to wipe the sky clean of fur and dirt.

The biannual trip to Bartlett for the artists’ getaway fell on last weekend.  “Fell” seems appropriate because the weather was pretty darn awful.  We could not visit the Rockpile, or any other tempting peak.  In fact, another guest at the Bartlett Inn reported that the Cog Railroad on Saturday started up Mt. Washington but had to back down because of the high winds.  Most of us painters sat out Thursday altogether; painted under a roof Friday (pavillion at Swift River Lower Falls), managed to get a few windy hours in before rain started on Saturday, and finally got a rain-free, partially sunny day on the appropriately named Sunday.  I usually come home with 5 or  6 paintings from a Bartlett weekend.  This time, only three:

Lower Falls

Mt. Washington Valley with Moat Mt. and cornfield

The view above is from the lawn of the Red Jacket Inn.  The painting will be exhibited at the Red Jacket once it is finished and framed.

Alpaca Farm in North Conway

I got out my big Beauport easel and a 16×20 panel for the alpaca farm.  I intend to add a close up of an alpaca, using one of my photographs.  Here is one of my models:

Head Shot

I had to minimize the shadows with my photo editing program (iPhoto) in order to see her amazing face.  She came up fairly close to me several times, but each time I could not get my camera in focus quickly enough to get the straight on gaze that I would love to have in the painting.

Not all of the alpacas were this lovely chestnut color.  I love that red shade because the edges generate such a warm glow.

Gray Alpaca

White Alpaca

Here are two others, who were not disposed to come so close to me.  They are shown galloping toward their owner at the back of the barn, who called them in by shouting “Ladies!”  At all other times, their muzzles are buried in the delicious grass.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth; at the Sage Gallery in Manchester; at the Manchester Artists Association Gallery in Manchester; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Rockport Art Association Gallery in Rockport, Massachusetts.

Link to website:  www.paintingsbyaline.com