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.


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

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!

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)



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.


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.