Seeing Red

The cover story this week is my Friday painting of Becky, wherein I decided to create a bright red background to set off her figure.  Backgrounds are so often a pain in the neck.  Are there rules?  I don’t know, but I suspect there are some, and I’m pretty sure one of them is, no bright red backgrounds.  I always think of Rembrandt, who knew a thing or two about painting portraits.  All his backgrounds are dark and subdued.  You don’t notice them because you aren’t supposed to notice them.  Sargent, too.  But what about Cezanne?  He did at least one self-portrait in which the background was a quirky yellow and orange pattern of expressive shapes.

Cezanne, Self-Portrait

Cezanne, Self-Portrait

I decided to go with Cezanne on Friday, and express myself in red.


I started this painting still puzzling over the “practice or paint?” conundrum, so I gave myself permission to play around.  But this is what happens:– pretty accurate portrait, rendered about as tightly as I ever get in a three-hour session.  Perhaps the red background is my inner abstract artist expressing frustration!

Saturday we had our last Saturday Life Group meeting until next Fall.  Becky was again the model.  After the quick one-minute poses, the five-minute pose and the ten-minute pose, I got a back view for the 20-minute pose.  That was OK, because it meant my side of the room would get a frontal view for the next, longer pose.

DSC_0004 DSC_0003

However, we paid dearly for that privilege with the last long pose (“long” in this group means between 40-60 minutes).  I could have moved to a different part of the room in order to get more of her body in view, but all of us in my corner went with what we got:  Half a back, a head of hair, and a draped cube.  All three of us deployed color to add interest.  I brought out the compressed charcoal to better make an impression of expression.  Compress expressive impression?  Whatever.  It’s the liveliest of the three:

Stripes with Hair

Stripes with Hair

Change of Subject:  What is majorly on my mind these days is my upcoming stint as the Featured Artist at the East Colony Fine Art Gallery.  Larry Donovan and I are sharing the spotlight for the month of June.  We have talked a little about serving up a coordinated theme, and we have picked a title that will permit just about anything from either of us: Through the Artist’s. . . [Window/Eyes/Viewpoint]–one of those words.  My dilemma is what to showcase:  portraits, nudes, landscapes, or those few abstract-y paintings I have produced.  I am so conflicted that I am ready to trash all the good advice about picking one style or facet and just put up my favorite works whether they look like they came from a single artist or not.  For example, I’d like to show this little half-hour plein-air sketch as well as the six-hour “Margaret and Her Nook“:

Water's Edge

Water’s Edge

Sometimes I discover value in a pile of forgotten panels.  I never photographed Water’s Edge before, but I did frame it and hang it on my wall, where I grew ever fonder of it.  Such a slow-growing affection is a stark contrast to Margaret and Her Nook, which I knew was going to be a successful painting before I had even finished it.

I am planning to construct a floating type frame for “Darkly” as advised by my mentors [see wailing a week ago here, and the painting here], and I am wondering–if I made similar frames for all the paintings I want to feature in June, would that unify them sufficiently to allow my public to appreciate the disparate styles?  Each painting would be mounted on a larger backboard painted black, which backboard will be framed in a simple box, also painted black.  Water’s Edge might call for a narrow gold fillet around the painting itself.  I’m thinking that is the only way I could get away with showing my crazy quilt of art.  But will Margaret shine from such a frame?

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 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; in French Hall (the main building) of the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH; and at her studio by appointment (email:

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.


The Wall of Nudes

I received a request, in response to last week’s blog, for a picture of my Wall of Nudes before I dismantled it all.  I agreed to comply, but before I could photograph it for posterity, I felt obliged to try for some semblance of order.  Not perfect order, as you will see, but a little bit more coherent than the crazy-quilt effect suffered by my bridge players.  I filled all the gaps at least, which produces a display of nudity even more overwhelming than the original.  You are fortunate not to have to experience this in the flesh.  (forgive me, pun intended)

I kept out of photo range all of my paintings by Others.  The effect is chaotic enough without introducing totally dissimilar artworks.  Plus, I would have felt obliged to identify all of them, which would make for a cumbersome blog entry.  However, having decided to devote this blog to the Wall of Nudes, I thought I might as well include other nooks and crannies of that room and an adjoining one, the Yellow Room.  We tend to name rooms by their predominant color, rather than by their purpose.  Purposes of rooms in my house tend to change over time.  The Wall of Nudes is in a room formerly known as the Pink Room, for its carpet.  The carpet is gone, but I still refer to it as the Pink Room.  Others call it the Striped Room (for the stripes painted on the wall).  As far as purpose, the Pink Room currently serves as Gallery, Entertainment Room (TV, etc), Pet Dwelling (one dog and a bunny).   I suppose it is, in modern parlance, a Family Room.  This family, however,  consists of me, the dog and the bunny.  (My granddaughter, who loves upstairs, has her own fancier TV and does not join us in the Pink Room for any purpose other than a meet up with the dog.  (Her dog.)

The Yellow Room is where I do stuff like stretch canvas, mount canvas onto panels, gesso panels, and frame paintings.  Framing oil paintings is a pretty simple affair, and if you stick to certain standard sizes, you can pop a painting in and out of a frame quick as a . . . well, bunny.  When I began this journey, I would search for and order a specific frame for a specific painting.  Somewhere along the line, the possibility of switching frames dawned upon me.  I began to stock up on standard sizes at sales, and fit them to paintings as needed for exhibits.   At one particularly prolific point of time, I managed to frame and display 81 paintings at one time, finding something appropriate for each one of them in my supply.  Nowadays, my paintings are predominantly 11×14, while I have more 10×12 frames than I can use.  Turns out 10×12 is not a standard size, but I didn’t know that when I ordered a supply of 10×12 panels from RayMar back in 2006.  So for a while there, I was glomming onto 10×12 frames wherever I could find them.  Then, of course, wiser, I stopped painting on 10×12 panels.  Ergo, excess 10×12 frames.  Which led to a wall of 10×12 frames right where I can lay my hands on them, if I ever need them.  Why didn’t someone explain the Facts of Frames to me in the beginning?

I explain all of this ahead of time  in part to whet your appetite, but mostly because I have little confidence that you would read it after the slide show.

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Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at the Pantano Gallery in the Shapiro Library at Southern NH University; at the Derry Public Library; at the law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.