New Hampshire’s Fall Foliage

Last weekend was the annual Fall Artists’ Getaway Weekend to the White Mountains, based at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett, New Hampshire.  We had some rain, but we also had some glorious, warm sunshine.  If only the wind hadn’t accompanied the sun, we would have had little to complain about.  As it was, Byron Carr flourished, creating one of his most spectacular paintings (and that’s saying a lot) under threat of rain.   Unfortunately, and as usual, taking a photo of it never occurred to me when it counted.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I have my own version of a cloud painting.  This was my first painting of the weekend, Friday morning’s painting.

Pumpkin Patch under Cathedral Ledge

Pumpkin Patch under Cathedral Ledge

It was actually raining when we set up.  Umbrellas intended for use against the sun turn out to serve also against the rain.  Who knew?  Gradually the clouds rolled away leaving the Ledge exposed, but I stayed with my initial impression, with the Ledge almost totally obscured.  The green patch is surrounded by pumpkins but appears itself to have been freshly sowed in something growing bright green–a cover crop perhaps.  The intense green is unusual at this time of year, but trust me, I even downplayed it a little.

Although I had driven up to Bartlett the day before, Thursday had been a solid, hard rain day.  I left Manchester kind of late (around two o’clock) and arrived at Bear Notch Road about four o’clock, in no hurry, enjoying the views without any urgency to paint them.  Bear Notch Road connects the Kancamangus Highway (a famed scenic highway) to Route 302 at the center of Bartlett–a great shortcut through the hills and woods.  Bear Notch is a two-lane road with overhanging trees.  The trees were still in full leaf, orange, red, and yellow.  The rain was unrelenting.  I felt as if I were floating through an orange cocoon, what with the rain slick on the road reflecting back at me all the oranges, red, and yellows of the trees.  I studied the effect as best I could, trying to memorize the elements.  But I didn’t stop to photograph it.  Story of my life, right?  (Well, it was raining pretty hard.)  So, to get to the point of Bear Notch Road description, when I finished the Pumpkin Patch before my companions were ready to move on, I started a painting of my memory of the orange cocoon.  I continued to refine and improve on it over the weekend, and again today.  I added the white line, although Bear Notch has none, in order to facilitate identification of the ribbon as a road, not a river.  My problem then was getting across the idea that what you are seeing on the road is water reflecting trees, not just fallen leaves.  Only you can tell me if I succeeded.

The Orange Cocoon

The Orange Cocoon

Friday afternoon we relocated to Jackson, all the way around to the other side of what I think of as the Mount Washington wilderness.  There are the two routes leading northward out of North Conway:  302 runs to the west of Mt. Washington, and 16 to the right.  Eventually, each route gives access to Mt. Washington.  The western route offers the Cog Railway.  The eastern route has the Auto Road.  All weekend we got no farther North than Bartlett on the West and Jackson on the East.  This was kind of strange, but the weather did limit our painting time somewhat, so we tended to stick closer to home base.

In Jackson, the Jackson Falls are always a big draw for artists.  But we had another motive:  reception at five in the Jackson Historical Museum, for exhibit opening and sale of White Mountain paintings, both old and contemporary.  Yes, there were many Champneys for sale.  Here is proof.  Upstairs in the Museum are paintings from its permanent collection, grouped by the area of the Whites being depicted.  In the center of this room is a topographical map with the locations identified.  A treasure.  Downstairs I discovered that I really like the works of Edward Hill, but could not afford to buy any.  Upstairs, I discovered I really like William Henry Hilliard, especially this work of his called Eagle Cliff.

Eagle Cliff, by W.H. Hilliard

Eagle Cliff, by W.H. Hilliard

I have my own version of Eagle Cliff from Profile Lake, which I call “Profile Lake”, the cliff being not a prominent feature in my painting.  See it here.

The food at the reception was outstanding, by the way.

Ah yes, my Jackson painting.  Sharon and I set up in the parking lot of the Museum, in part because there were good views of the town center and of the river that flows down from the Falls, and in part because we’d be on the spot, parked and ready for the reception at five o’clock.  I chose to paint a small section of the river where artfully arranged boulders create happy little rapids.

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This is actually a cropped photo.  I will be cutting the painting down as cropped, which I can do because it was painted on paper.  Guerrilla Painter “carton” paper.  The top part of the painting is distracting and irrelevant, and I shouldn’t have wasted my time or paint on it.

Saturday we revisited May Kelly’s.  My idea.  Last Spring we painted in the back of May Kelly’s, an Irish pub-type restaurant.  My painting was of the back of May Kelly’s.   See it here.  Around me, other artists had been painting a terrific view of the valley with the Saco River with White Horse Ledge looming over all.  Shortly after I got home in May and photographed my painting, the May Kelly painting went missing, never to turn up again.  Perhaps one disadvantage to painting on paper.  Anyway, having lost the earlier version, I was eager to paint another version of the back of May Kelly’s.  As before, other artists’ attention was focused on the valley view.  We got rained out, and headed indoors for lunch and reconnoitering.  Terrific lunch!  By the time we finished eating, the rain had let up a little, but instead of finding a new location, we went back to the Inn and worked on our unfinished paintings.  I had taken a reference photo of the back of May Kelly’s just before the rain hit (finally, I remembered to take a picture), so I was able to finish that painting  using the photo.  In fact, the photo was enormously helpful because it revealed to me how wrong one of my angles was.

May Kelly's, v. 2

May Kelly’s, v. 2

After finishing May Kelly, I worked on Orange Cocoon some more, getting advice from anybody who was willing to give it, about how best to convey the rain reflections.  Saturday night, per our tradition, we got pizza in for supper and reviewed all the paintings that we had created over the weekend.  Byron as usual and as appropriate (he organizes the weekend) had the most, and one of the best.  Byron Carr.  Link here to his website.   Other great artists participating:  Elaine Farmer from Amherst, Sharon Allen from Derry, Bruce Jones from Exeter, Diane Dubreuil from Connecticut, Penny (sorry, can’t remember her last name) from Maine, and Phil Bean from Milford.

Sunday I meandered my way home, looking for a spot that needed painting.  I didn’t find it where I expected to, along Route 153 through Eaton and Purity Springs.  But on a whim I left the main road (I think I was on Route 28 at this point) to explore up a hill to a place called Moultonville, and happened on just the right spot:  an eye-catching scene accompanied by place to park and another place to paint, all without risk to life, limb or property.  According to one of the interested residents who stopped to engage me in conversation, the subject of my painting is owned by an artist, last name unknown.

Moultonville Home

Moultonville Home

So another productive weekend in the company of some of my favorite people comes to a close.  You can’t ask for better.

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;   at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester (but access is limited to patients and health care workers).  One painting is hanging this last week in the Boston Arboretum visitor center.  My two cemetery paintings (seen here) are on view at the Arts League of Lowell, 307 Market Street, Lowell, Massachusetts.  And in Portsmouth’s Levy Gallery, you can find 8 of my newest 6×6’s as part of the annual Women’s Caucus for Art 6×6 show.

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 by email to alotter@mac.com.

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!

Oscar Night

Finishing my Oscar Night painting was a top priority when I got home after my Florida trip, along with tax returns and a report that I have to make annually to the Sierra Club regarding my NH chapter’s activities.  (I mention that nonart stuff as an excuse for not posting a blog last week, as if anyone noticed.)  The title of my Oscar painting is “Going for Gold”, and there is no longer any reason to conceal the title of the movie it represents–our Oscar Night party took place Saturday.  Nobody had much difficulty matching my painting up with “Chariots of Fire.”  Some other artists made it very hard to discern their movie, but not my favorites: Bruce Jones’ circus scene (“The Greatest Show on Earth”) and Rick Dickenson’s portrait of the ship that played the Bounty in “Mutiny on the Bounty”.  I wish I had thought to snap a picture of each of them, but I found them on our Facebook page:

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You can figure out which is which, can’t you?  And that is a wonderful photo of Elaine Farmer laughing in front of the Bounty.  For more pictures of the event:  Facebook page for East Colony Fine Art, with photos of the shindig.    Here is a snapshot of our group, those of us who stuck it out to the end, anyway.  (I was not the only one feeling the pain.)

East Colony Artists on Oscar Night

You’d never know that we usually have a hard time finding anything to wear that is not spotted with paint, much less something fancy to wear on the Red Carpet.  We had an actual Red Carpet laid down as you approached the entrance to our Gallery, and other trappings, including champagne, of an extravagant star-studded celebration.  Popcorn too, for the unstar-studded populace.  A large, flat screen TV was playing snippets from our Oscar-winning movies, with music, but the crowds precluded us from taking it in–but crowds are a good thing.  The game of matching paintings with Oscar titles was taken very seriously by everyone, even though nobody was sure of what the prize was going to be.

And here, at long last, is the absolute final version of Going for Gold.

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I took it in to hang last Monday, but then realized that I did not like the frame.  More precisely, I loved the frame by itself, which was a match to the one on “Margaret and her Nook” (see next photo), but not on this particular painting.  So I took it home again, and rooted around in my frame inventory to  come up with a modest, thin frame.  I wanted black, but could only find gold.  So I added the vertical black strips on each side to simulate a black border.  (I’m sure my faulty photography is responsible for the left border  above looking slanted.)  The new borders were barely dry when I hung the painting Friday afternoon.  Here is how it looked on my wall:

Image 1

See, straight borders on both sides.  Above the Oscar painting is one I call “Athabasca Falls” because, you guessed it, it is a painting of Athabasca Falls in Alberta, Canada, as night was falling.  Long story, that.  And on the right you see Margaret and her Nook.  On the pedestal is a giclee of Freckles, a cat I used to know–and love.  That’s my browse bin with other giclees on offer.  I’m not sure who the gentleman is–he was sitting with his wife on a big ottoman and I could not ask them to move.  Behind him is a short bio and photo of me hanging in a frame.  This is my “half space” for two months.  Some “half spaces” are a little larger than this one; usually I can hang about six paintings, but then, all three of these were larger than my usual.

I have been bad at getting the word out about these events.  In June I will be sharing the Featured Artist spot with Lawrence Donovan.  He’s the guy in the front, on the right, in the tuxedo.  We are trying to work out a theme that we can both live with.  And I have resolved to beat the drum very loudly to get everyone I know out for my opening reception.  So get ready, y’all!

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 Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth;  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; and at her studio by appointment (email: alotter@mac.com).

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 this feedback form.

Fixing up and the Start of a Bushwhack

Thanks to everyone who appreciated the drawings last week.  Black and white can be boring, especially when not brought to a polished finish.  It is fun for me to go back through them occasionally, hopefully to discern some progress being made, and drawing is the backbone of (most) painting.  I will show you perhaps an exception at the end of this post.  (latest project being painted mostly from my head without references)

And today’s post is full of color!  I made small refinements to three deserving plein air pieces.  The first goes back to Castine, Maine, on the pier facing the student (Maine Maritime Academy) ship, the U.S.S. Maine with its tug.  I had allowed the lit facet of the yellow tug to brown down, which sacrificed drama, and more importantly the contrast that had attracted me to the scene in the first place.  So here’s the original, and after it, the new and improved version:

The State of Maine (with tugboat)

The State of Maine (with tugboat)

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My second redo is actually a finishing up.  A Spring painting of the valley behind Franconia Notch in Sugar Hill was interrupted by showers, and the sky was left as blank white canvas.  One of my closest friends and admirer of paintings begged me not to touch it as he thought it perfect as is.  Do I listen to such pleas?  Well, I hung back for yea these many months but decided I had to fill in that emptiness–without violating my friend’s sensibilities.  I concluded that what he liked was the extra crisp edge of the mountain range line, so I made sure to keep that sharp, and the high contrast between sky (light) and mountains (dark), so I maintained that contrast as well.  While there, I punched up some of the other small lit areas–meadow, roof top.  Here’s the before and after:

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Franconia Notch, May 2013

Franconia Notch, May 2013

Finally, I applied the advice that I had received at the Manchester Artists Association meeting last month, to my first painting of Clark Pond (link to that post here):

Clark Pond in Auburn WIP

Clark Pond in Auburn WIP

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Clark Pond will now be framed and readied for exhibit somewhere.  (Probably East Colony Fine Art Gallery, where I just took down my figurative show and put up landscapes that are dearest to my heart.  Each show lasts for two months.)  I was excited to learn that the Currier Museum is allowing us docents-in-training to exhibit one of our own pieces in the Museum (basement) for the month of December, but I have another project in mind for that particular honor.

And that project is the one I am calling a bushwhack, since I don’t have a trail to follow, and have no clue how to reach my rather amorphous goal–to paint an abstracted landscape inspired by Tom Thomson.

Here’s the scoop:  I am painting in Patrick McCay’s EEE class with a start from the photo of the cloud shadows.  (posted here)  In addition to experimenting with the idea of abstract landscape, I was influenced by a book that Bruce Jones brought to Bartlett for the getaway weekend–a book full of the paintings of Tom Thomson, a Canadian artist working during the earliest decades of the last century.  Thomson painted juicy, blocky abstractions of landscapes and used the complementary colors of dark blue and orange to great effect.  Here is a stunning example:

West Wind by T. Thomson

Sunset by T. Thomson

I wanted to paint something that had that same impact.  My painting looked like this when I left off a week ago Thursday:

Bear Notch WIP

Bear Notch WIP

Something about my painting wasn’t working.  Patrick suggested that it evoked a forest fire with the dark spots represented charred remains of forests.  In theory I didn’t care what it evoked since abstraction was my principal goal.  But it wasn’t working as a whole, so last Thursday, I abandoned the abstraction goal and transformed my painting into an identifiable landscape that I hope will have almost the same impact as the Thomson.  You will have to wait until next week to judge.  (I forgot to photograph it before I left the class studio.)

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; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester;  at the Epsom Library in Epsom, NH; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter;  starting Nov. 9, at the Studio 550 Art Center in Manchester NH, as part of the annual 6×6 show of the Womens Caucus for Art; and at her studio by appointment.

Smorgasbord of Art

My artistic output last week hit all the bases:  nudes, portraiture, experimental landscapes, and plein air landscapes.

Skipping over Tuesday primarily because I don’t remember what I did and I do remember being unhappy with it, let’s start with Wednesday.  Wednesday is usually a plein air day, but not last week.  Adrienne held another one of her all-day figure study marathons, from ten a.m. until seven p.m.  I had no pep,  but was determined not to let my health issue stop me.  But I could not keep it from slowing me down.  Larry Christian and I were the only ones to stick it out to the finish, but  I had to stop painting when I ran out of surfaces to paint on.  For the last 45 minutes or so,  I watched Larry working his charcoal magic on 10-minutes poses of the two models together.

I had two interesting compositions from a side angle:

Foot First

Foot First

Girl Talk

Girl Talk

Foot First was a pose of about two hours, I think.  We were late getting up and running, and I had to cut out early to take my daughter to an appointment.  The Girl Talk pose was maybe only 20 minutes.  No, that can’t be right–it must have been at least an hour.

When the Girls next changed positions, they presented me with profiles of each.  After 20 minutes, we found a compromise to keep me happy with long views of the profiles and Larry happy with frequent pose changes.  Even as the models changed their poses frequently , they kept their profiles toward me.  My view or angle would change slightly each time, but I managed to extrapolate from a current profile to the original profile.

Two Profiles

Two Profiles

Thursday was the EEE class, wherein I am trying to discover abstract paintings in my plein air studies.  The studies were 11×14.  The class projects are 16×20.  For both, I used a lot of paint applied with a palette knife.  I love thick, juicily painted paintings, a la Van Gogh.

EEE No. 1

EEE No. 1

EEE No. 2

EEE No. 2

I was in the Mount Washington Valley and environs all weekend.  The semiannual Artists Getaway Weekend organized by Byron Carr and sustained by Sharon Allen’s cohort of plein air fanatics brought together, in addition to Byron and Sharon, Bruce Jones, Sandra Garrigan, Patricia Sweet MacDonald, Jim O’Donnell, Elaine Farmer, a Gentleman Jim from Georgia whose surname I never got.  I left for Bartlett after class on Thursday, taking only small panels (8×10) with me. I knew by that time that my fatigue will keep me from covering the usual amount of canvas.  Sure enough, I finished only four paintings over Friday and Saturday, despite the fine weather we had.

Saco Riverbed

Saco Riverbed

The Davis Farm

The Davis Farm

Thorn Hill Road View of Ledges

Thorn Hill Road View of Ledges

Mount Washington

Mount Washington

The last painting, the one of Mt. Washington, took me only little over an hour, including nodding off time. ( Patricia caught me napping with brush in hand, so there’s no point in covering it up.)  It is a simple composition, straightforward in execution.   No broken color, no short strokes, no uneven thickness of paint.  I was not surprised when many of my colleagues refused to believe it was mine.  But they agreed I didn’t likely find it under the pumpkin truck either.  I really could not have painted such a distant scene any other way on such a small canvas.

I have a new idea for this week’s EEE class:  on my way back from Bartlett, traveling the Bear Notch Road, I took some photographs of the cloud shadows on the mountains up North and am planning to make something abstract out of those images for the class this week.

left center

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; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester;  at the Epsom Library in Epsom, NH; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter;  and at her studio by appointment.

Sidewalk Art Show in Portland, Maine

Bruce Jones and I tried again, this time in Portland.  I had to get up at 4:20 a.m. in order to get myself and my helpers to Portland by 7:30.  This was our second experience with outdoor art shows.  Our first was the Beacon Hill Art Walk.  We enjoyed Portland more.  For one thing, we were not under the noisy, dirty elevated rail line.  For another we were not in a wind tunnel.

Our spot in Monument Square

Our spot in Monument Square

As you can see, we had an end location, thus enabling us to extend our real estate.  We spread our paintings over three extra panel surfaces, and set up our table display out of the way of browsers.  I stacked about 12 unframed panels on the table for bargain hunters.  Bargain-hunting art collectors may be an oxymoron:  People enjoyed looking but no one asked for the price.

Bruce and me waiting for business

Bruce and me waiting for business

The day was gorgeous–so crisp in the morning that my daughter brought two sweatshirts with her.  But the temperature heated up as the day weathered on, and by the end of the day, I was sunburned.   I carry sunscreen and insect repellant in my plein air pack, but never thought to bring those things to an art show.  Another thing we didn’t think to bring was bags to put the art in if we sold something.  Whew!  Good thing we didn’t sell anything!  I am now pricing clear bags with die-cut handles and wondering if they will be strong enough for a large painting in a heavy frame.  I’d have to buy a box of at least 250 of them to find out.

I brought 20 paintings to hang on what turned out to be six display panels, and this time out, most of them were figurative.  Half of the figures were nudes.  Cameron will perhaps be pleased to learn that I hung 4 out of the 5 paintings I completed in his “Inspired by Cornwall” course.  You wouldn’t think anyone would care about paintings of people whom they don’t even know, but my paintings and drawing of black women attracted the most attention.   Also, consider that fact that someone bought my portrait of the black African girl (“Red Headdress”) at the Londonderry Art in Action.   Pretty interesting phenomenon.  My landscapes were almost totally ignored.

Side A: My Figures

Side A: My Figures

Side B, my mixed; Side C, Bruce's

Side B, my mixed side; Side C, Bruce’s landscapes

But in the end, the results were the same as Beacon Hill–no sales.  We watched as the guy across the square from us sold his giclee prints like hotcakes; we had to admire his organization and salesmanship.  We didn’t bring any giclee prints.  But we handed out cards and may hear from those interested art lovers as a result of meeting them there.   Probably not this one:

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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 Kimball-Jenkins Gallery in Concord, 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;  the East End Art Gallery in Riverhead, Long Island; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter; at the Currier Museum of Art, also in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.

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
Side-lined

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.

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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.

The White Mountains of New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a Seacoast region, a Lakes region, and countless quaint farms and towns, but to the rest of the world, New Hampshire means but one thing:  the White Mountains.  They do rather stand out, compared to all those other things.  I believe “white” comes from the glimpse that early seafarers got of them, when covered by snow.  Or perhaps it was the sun glinting off the granite.

In any event, they became the subject of many 19th century paintings.  Champney, Bierstadt, and dozens of others explored and painted the Whites.  For a complete rundown, go to White Mountain Art.   Right now there are two major exhibits of White Mountain paintings, one in Jackson and another in Plymouth.  The former we have visited twice before.  The latter is housed in a brand new Museum of the White Mountains on the campus of Plymouth State College.  We stopped there to check it out on our way to Bartlett last Thursday.  We came away with a map showing the coordinates of several locations, that is, the coordinates to the spot where the painter stood to paint or make his sketch (probably not many of the paintings were painted outdoors).  My painting buddy, Sharon, aspires to paint like the Old Masters, and her enthusiasm led her to download a GPS app to her smartphone, and led both of us over hill and dale in search of the right spots.  It was fun.  Unfortunately, progress or tree growth interfered with many replications.

My plein air painting No. 1 is a covered bridge not far from Plymouth.

Smith Millenium Bridge

Smith Millenium Bridge

Friday, we got in two painting segments:  the first was in the strawberry fields below Cathedral Ledge.

Strawberry Fields (Cathedral Ledge)

Strawberry Fields (Cathedral Ledge) (No.2)

Usually, my first painting is my best, I think because the inspirational tug is strongest with the first try.  If you don’t count the covered bridge–it was on the way into the mountains, not quite there yet–this is the first.  And it could be the best.  But there are four more, and you might like one of them better.

Friday afternoon we went on our first expedition in search of Old Master painting spot:  Mt. Adams as captured by Champney.  The actual spot was right in the middle of the Auto Road up Mt. Washington, but we found a better one off to the side.

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams (No. 3)

Mount-Adams-Benjamin-Champney-1852-24-x-30-inches-Private-collection

Mount-Adams-Benjamin-Champney-1852-24-x-30-inches

The snow-streaked mountain in the background of my painting is Mt. Jefferson, and on the far left is the beginning of Mt. Washington, which is a sprawling kind of mountain, lumping its way to the highest point in the Northeast.  (Last January I had painted a view of this lumpy part of Mt. Washington  on that misery-filled plein air weekend.)

Saturday we found our own spots.  The day before, on our way back to the Bartlett Inn from the Mt. Adams spot, a stream near the highway had caught our eye and so the next morning we went in search of it.  Sharon sometimes ends up in my paintings, and I was particularly glad of the added interest her hat brought to the scene.

Roadside Painter

Roadside Painter (No. 4)

After a while, the noise of the traffic hurtling by next to us faded from consciousness and all we heard was the gurgling water.

In the afternoon, Sharon introduced me to Echo Lake, at the foot of White Horse Ledge.  It was an idyllic spot.  Sandy beach, picnic benched (excellent to paint from–you can really spread out your stuff), lively visitors (and I don’t mean the black flies)–one of whom demonstrated the echo for the rest of us.

White Horse Ledge over Echo Lake

White Horse Ledge over Echo Lake (No. 5)

My painting had at one point a much more literal depiction of the ledge, but its very literalness bothered me, so I loaded up my palette knife and spread paint liberally.  Perhaps something in between would have worked better.  Supposedly there is an image of a horse, whitish maybe, delineated in the cracks of this ledge, but I sure couldn’t see it and I wasn’t about to fake it either.

Sunday was a travel day, but we did get in one painting late in the day before heading back South.  It was the product of another Champney search, this time in Sugar Hill.  Mt. Lafayette is on the left and Cannon is on the right.  Personally, I would call it another view of Franconia Notch.

DSC_0001

I’d say this is about half done.  The dark clouds arrived, threatening rain, before I even touched the sky.   The sky had been a dull gray before that anyway.  Cannon is a ski mountain, and I’m not sure I want to put the ski trails in.  But why not?  I don’t know.  View is from Lovers Lane, in Sugar Hill.

All of my paintings on this trip were 9×12, except Roadside Painter which was 10×12.  I figured I was out of plein air practice, and the smaller format would help me finish paintings.  That was correct.  Perhaps smaller will mean more salable too.  Eventually, I plan to take them back to hang in Bartlett Inn.

Or I may take them to the Beacon Hill Art Walk on June 2.  I am trying to decide whether to take only figurative works, only landscapes, or the best of both.  I’m sharing a tent with Bruce Jones, who does beautiful work in the style of Don Stone.  I’m not sure I want mine compared to his.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield 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 her law offices 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 30, nine of her Boston Arboretum paintings will be displayed at the Leach Library in Londonderry, NH.  On Sunday, June 2, she will be participating in the Beacon Hill Art Walk, in Boston.