When Something Ends . . .

Something else comes along to fill the vacuum.  Last week, I had to announce to all on my list of figure artists that I was ending the Monday Life Group, after more than five years I think.  It does not work as a drop-in kind of thing unless a sufficient number of artists are willing to show up a few times a month.  I needed five artists to break even at the other studio, three to break even at my home studio.  When times were good, more than the minimum would show up, and I would have extra money to tide me over those weeks when not enough artists showed up; but when  you get down to three, there’s just no slack to work with.

Being forced to paint every Monday from the live model was very good for me and for my progress as an artist;  I feel lucky to have had that experience for so long.  There is a silver lining though, in the opening up of a whole half day in my calendar.  I’ll have more time to lead tours at the Currier, work on my blog and finally get to more floral paintings.  Perhaps flowers will replace figures.

So here is the last of the MLG output:  my granddaughter Natalie.

Natalie on arm of sofa

Natalie on arm of sofa

I booked her for only two weeks, and it just proves that two weeks is not quite enough to complete a portrait, no matter how loose the style.  I would have like to do more work on the hair and skin tone, but I pressed to get a face in. It is a pretty nice likeness, right down to the pained expression.  Her hip was hurting.

My other output last week was in Canterbury, the town center of Canterbury.  I have many times painted in Canterbury Shaker Village, but never before in the town of Canterbury.  We (plein air artists) were invited to paint during the Farmers Market and bring some works to sell, but Flo Parlangeli and I went out there in the morning, before the Market, so as to have something of the town to show, maybe sell.  We were warmly welcomed by the people of Canterbury, especially the hospitable librarians.  Chocolate cake with vanilla icing left over from a library anniversary party the night before!  And bathrooms!  The Market itself takes place in the Library parking lot.  To paint our first painting, however, we set up outside the general store, called the Canterbury Country Store.  I later learned that the Town owns that store, probably because it’s not really a going proposition.  But it sells good ice cream!  There was a constant stream of residents stopping in for one thing or another.  That was when we noticed one coming out with the ice cream cone.  We had to immediately take a break and try the ice cream.  Also the storefront looks adorable:

Canterbury Country Store

Canterbury Country Store

Maybe I can count this as a floral painting.

We moved downhill to the Library and the Market mid-afternoon, where we were joined by Sharon Allen, Mary Crump and Ann Traynor Domingue.   The Market was fun.  School kids were given some kind of scavenger hunt which required them to ask an artist what “plein air” meant.  That’s why we were invited!

I was at that point a little tired, and being pleased with what I had already painted in the morning, not in the mood to stretch myself.  I looked for a convenient subject, one that allowed me to keep my easel shaded and the table with my paintings for sale nearby.  By facing toward the sun, I can keep my painting shaded, and the painting itself keeps the palette in shade.  The subject I found when I faced the sun was Sharon:

Sharon at Canterbury Market

Sharon at Canterbury Market

I don’t know why she needed two things protecting her from the sun–her canopy chair was backed up by her ShadeBuddy–but my depiction is accurate (as always).  Notice the plastic bag that she throws her oil-smeared paper towels in.  She uses those blue shop towels, as do I, because they are much sturdier that ordinary kitchen paper towels, even Viva, and I wish I had got the blue towel more prominently present in the picture.  Sharon has burned her name onto the back of her Guerrilla pochade box.  See that orange straw coming out of the plastic cup?  Sharon keeps Dunkin Donuts in business single-handedly.  I believe, but am not positive, that Sharon was painting the musician who was playing his heart out just behind me.  I could have done him instead, but it would have been complicated since I could not use my ShadeBuddy on the hard macadam surface where I was so comfortably chilling’ out.  Yeah, I was just lazy.

The rest of my week was taken up with so much interference:  meetings, exhibit chores (I was appointed chair of an exhibit in Concord — see below), physical therapy (I’m going to solve the new knee problem and maybe even the old lower back problem that keeps me from standing to paint).  At my age, because of my age?, I am productive only half the time I am awake; the rest of the time I am chillin’ out.  I like to think of chilling out as restorative, but worry that it’s not restoring anything useful.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

At the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett;  at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.  I have also had a painting at the Red River Theatre all month, which I had overlooked in previous posts, but it comes down at the end of the week.  And for the month of October I have two paintings in the Womens Club of Concord, part of a three-part 20th anniversary exhibit by the Womens Caucus for Art.  However, the hours during which the WCC is accessible to the public are unpredictable.  You can visit the other two parts of the 20th Anniversary exhibits at the Kimball Jenkins carriage house and the Concord Chamber of Commerce.

As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases and the like 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.

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Views from the Top of Mt. Prospect

Last week I teased you with photographs of the scenes I painted from the Weeks State Park location but not the paintings I worked on there. This week I am making up for my laziness by posting those two paintings as well as two paintings that I started on location at the Bedford Farmers Market.

First, the painting above shows the view from the Weeks house toward Vermont, a northwesterly direction. One of the locals told me that the pond just visible was the Martin Meadow Pond, but I am sure he was wrong about that. My little sliver of a water feature does not even get named on Google maps, while the Martin Meadow Pond is much larger, and is visible from another break in the trees to my left. What attracted me to this view was the little taste of a vista, enclosed by the foreground of foliage. It was a difficult position to manage because I did not feel free to take up the whole path with my easel. That’s always a consideration for a plein air painter–keeping out of the way of the folk who are there for the same view you want to paint. From time to time, the park ranger would wander by to check on my progress. What he would see was pretty much a mess–big smears of muddy colors–until close to the finish, when I cleaned up the edges, hit the shapes with some brighter colors, and refined the details. When he arrived at that point, he was blown away–couldn’t believe it! “Wow!”

Wow is always a good word to use to compliment a painter.

The second Weeks painting was on a much larger panel, 20 x 16, I was already tired, and frankly a bit bored by my choice of subject matter–the tower. There was no reason to continue working on it at home, except that front page article in the Concord Monitor, posted in last week’s blog. So I worked on it yesterday:

On to the next subject–Farmers Market in Bedford. My friend and fellow painter, Suzanne Whittaker, lives in Bedford and was asked to be an attraction at the Market by painting there. She sets up a tent every Tuesday afternoon, 3 to 6, and paints a still life. Other artists join her when they can. My joining her depends on my getting the use of my car on a Tuesday afternoon, which so far I have been able to do twice. Instead of painting her still life, I try to paint a piece of the market scene. Of course, nobody stays motionless long enough for me to capture their image, but I can get the structures and add anonymous figures suggested by the real people. As you will see, I go for colorful stuff:

The Bread Seller, 14×11

The Apple Hill Stand

The guy in the baseball cap noticed me looking his way a lot, so he came over afterward to see what I was doing. Most of my admirers were the children. They always asked the price, bless their uninhibited souls. They always want to buy, and are so disappointed when they can’t afford the price. One of these days I may just bring paintings to give to them. Better than dying with hundreds of paintings that my children will have to dispose of.

Dogs are welcome at the Farmers Market, so I have been taking Justice with me. He is a shy dog, particularly fearful with new men. But he seemed to enjoy our first day at the market, and never barked once. Things were different last week. We were closer to the traffic, hence to the other dogs. But that wasn’t the worst of it. A drum circle came to use Sue’s tent about one hour before closing time. I couldn’t reposition myself at that point, two hours into my painting, so they closed in behind me. Poor Justice huddled under my chair for that hour, frantic to get away but pinned in place by the leash I had him on. So when Mr. Apple Hill came over to check us out, after the drumming had ceased, Justice greeted him like a long lost friend. So funny. So there are worse things than strange men. . . much worse! And then it got pretty good–the vendor next to us sells homemade gourmet treats for cats and dogs, and gave Justice her leftover samples to take home.

So far it is looking good for us to return to the Farmers Market in Bedford tomorrow–if you want to see us there, the Market is located just off Wallace Road in the Benedictine Park.