Final and Complete Report of Marco Island Painting Binge

After a snow-impeded itinerary, I finally returned to the winter wonderland that is New Hampshire.  Another snow storm yesterday has locked me at home.  The city didn’t bother to plow my little stub of a street until it was sure it could build a barricade at the bottom of my driveway worthy of good ol’ New England complaining.  Still, I don’t mind . . . didn’t want to go anywhere today anyway, not when I have the lovely task of reliving my adventures in Marco Island, through this retelling.

All thirteen of my Marco 2014 paintings are painted on 9 x 12 carton paper, acquired from Judson’s Guerrilla Painter art supplies.  Two paintings are candidates for cropping, as you will see.  The first 8 were posted last week, using photos taken with my phone or my iPad.  Now that I have new versions taken with my Nikon Digital SLR, I will include them again.  A few have endured improvements since last week.

I would love to hear from my followers which painting(s) are their favorites.

Marco 2014 No. 1

Marco 2014 No. 1

This first painting is still one of my own favorites.

Marco 2014 No. 2

Marco 2014 No. 2

I added the sky and make other changes as planned.  I can see room for more improvement–punchier lights on the foreground objects.

Marco 2014 No. 3

Marco 2014 No. 3 – The Beach

The quickest, simplest is the favorite of many people.  I touched up the bird spots.  Several had suggested making the spots into kites (the toy, not the bird), but I was concerned about bringing in that level of detail.

Marco 2014 No. 4

Marco 2014 No. 4 – Sea Grapes

Although I wanted to improve on the definition between light and shadow, I lacked the confidence to do anything about it.

Marco 2014 No. 5

Marco 2014 No. 5

The only improvement I made to No. 5 is the color of the shadows on the building.  Less green, more blue.

Marco 2014 No. 6

Marco 2014 No. 6–Calusa Boat Yard

No changes to this one.  But when I posted it last week, I didn’t include any narrative, and it deserves a narrative.  On my right, over the railing, is a roof covering a shelf-like area where successful fishermen (women don’t seem to be into that kind of thing) can clean their fish.  There’s a water spigot and a tube into which the waste is shoved, which apparently drops the waste somewhere in the water underneath, where the waiting pelicans cannot access it.  There is a prominently posted sign forbidding the feeding of the pelicans.  But they hover nevertheless.    Because mistakes are made.  Sometimes a particularly motivated fish escapes the grasp of the fisherman and dives in the waiting maw of a pelican.

I was in that spot because of the shadow afforded by the roof.  So I was kind of in the way, but not so much as would require me to move.  One of the fisherman wanted this painting, but he was willing to pay only $100 for it.  I felt it was worth at least $200.  I hope he’s sorry now!

Marco 2014 No. 7

Marco 2014 No. 7–Pond with girl and goose

I defined the figure of the little girl to show her posture better.  She was a real little girl, but she never sat for me on the bank like that.  The Canadian goose was one of a pair cruising around with a pair of Muscovy ducks.  The walkway pavement really was a purply black.

Marco 2014 No. 8

Marco 2014 No. 8–dog walkers’ park

I reworked this painting a lot.  The bridge alone got about four repaintings.  A figure went in, came out; the original dog came out, a new one came in.  I was looking for something expressive, trying to channel Van Gogh.  Here was the previous version.


Marco 2014 No. 9

Marco 2014 No. 9

Mary lives on a golf course, of course.  If you don’t live on either water or a golf course on Marco, you  are doing something wrong.  We reconnoitered the course but found nothing to inspire us to paint, but on our way back to her house, we both fell in love with this huge palm, catching light here and there, so that’s where I set up.  It was close to the back door to her lanai (screened in terrace containing swimming pool–standard equipment in Florida).  In the lanai, watching me closely, was her black cat, Tara.  So I popped her in the painting.  Jungle cat with green eyes.

Marco 2014 No. 10

Marco 2014 No. 10

Yet another park–the same where we had painted our picnic in the rain last year.  Both Mary and I decided to paint the reflections in the lake.  She draws in pencil, then paints in watercolor.  (I had intended to take pictures of her paintings too, and share with you.  But forgot until this minute.  The fog of age.)  Anyway, she takes a lot longer to complete a painting, what with all that drawing first.  I was finished with mine, grousing about the difficulties (I have a list of them with respect to reflections), and was just diddling around with it when a huge flock of ducks swooped down and started swimming furiously around in circles.  Whassup?  I thought.  A few of them climbed the bank over on the right, out of my frame, investigated, and returned to swimming in circles.  Then arrived a man and woman laden with buckets.  They dumped the contents of the buckets under the tree lately investigated by the scouter ducks, and a parade ensued.  This was what the ducks were waiting for!  Since I wasn’t doing anything important anyway, I stopped fussing over the ever-changing tree, grass and house reflections and changed up my pond to accommodate a representative grouping of circling ducks.  Are the ducks too black?  That’s how they appeared to me in that low light, silhouetted against the bright water.

Marco 2014 No. 11

Marco 2014 No. 11

Flo joined us, down from Cape Coral, and the three of us caught up with that same group of outdoor painters who go out each Wednesday to paint together at specific locations.  This week’s location, the Esplanade, includes fountains, retail establishments, boats (moored to the right in this view), and lots of people.  Rich people.  We spread out.  I chose to paint the bar because I thought it was time that I tried something really difficult.  I had my eye on the bank of liquor bottles in the background.  I spent all day on this one painting, and much of that time was spent repainting the elements, trying to get them to work together.  Perhaps I overdid it.  Does it look stilted?

Marco 2014 No. 12

Marco 2014 No. 12 – Vanda orchid

Although our weather was warm and sunny all the time I was there, one day was extremely windy.  The three of us decided the better part of valor was staying in the shelter of the lanai and painting Mary’s Vanda orchid.  I tried to mix up the color of the orchid from my various reds and blues, but it just wasn’t working–not even close–, so I borrowed some Magenta from Flo and voila!  That made me curious about magenta–why wouldn’t it mix from blue and red?  Turns out it is special; because blue and red don’t mix past purple on the spectrum of color–they don’t meet on the color spectrum.  A synthetic red called quinacridone makes possible the purply red known as magenta or fuchsia.  I am adding Magenta back to my palette and bowing respectfully to all quinacridones.

Marco 2014 No. 12 detail of orchid

Marco 2014 No. 12 detail of orchid

Flo’s version of the orchid was more of a closeup, and just like a kid, when I saw her treatment, I decided I wanted that too, so here is my cropped version.  Is it better than the one with roots in the foreground and swimming pool and palm tree in the background?  By the way, I need to thank Deirdre Riley, who paints flowers awesomely; she advises what I call the big blob attack method of painting flowers, whereby you paint in the general shape of the entire arrangement, then pick out lights and darks to form the shapes of individual flowers.  That approach stood me in good stead with this extraordinary plant with a single stem smothered with individual flowers.

Last, but certainly not least, here is the cut-down version that I prefer:

Marco 2014 No. 13 v.2 (6x12)

Marco 2014 No. 13 v.2 (6×12)

Before cropping, this is the painting:

Marco 2014 No. 13 (9x12)

Marco 2014 No. 13 (9×12)

I haven’t actually cut it up yet, so if you think I am wrong to do so, please tell me now.  Not later!

The location is the Rose Marina, where I have painted before, but this time we explored our way around the water to a residential neighborhood that has this view of the action.  Notice there is a major bow sticking its nose in at the right.  While I was painting, this ship, the Marco Island Princess, got underway with its passengers for a sunset cruise in the Gulf . . . analogous to a Mount Washington dinner cruise on Lake Winnepesaukee, but much smaller.  The foreground is a grassy knoll that drops down to the water out of your view (and mine), which complicates your understanding of what is happening.  That’s why I prefer the cropped version.  Yes, there are a couple of pelicans in the painting.

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 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:

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.

Reporting from Marco Island

I’ve been here since Tuesday, getting out of the snowpath in the nick of time. Lucky, lucky me! We’ve been painting every day, 4or 5 hours each day. I have 8 nearly finished paintings, 9 by 12.

For our first outing we joined a group of outdoor painters who get together Wednesdays, and this Wednesday we were invited into and around the “Gingerbread Cottage”, a private residence owned by a couple of gardeners and dog lovers. They had won a prize for their landscaping, and they locked the dogs up for the day. About 20 artists were tucked away in nooks and crannies on the property, for it was not a large lot. Tiny pathways separated beds of stuff that I got to know as house plants. We got there late, having been delayed by a visit to the farmers market. Most of the nooks and crannies were already either occupied or being painted. I settled in a shady spot where I was assured I was not blocking anybody’s view of her subject. Then I surveyed the scene to divine a subject of my own. I thought, well ok, for the first time my first painting will not be the best one. So what! But maybe it will be the best.

This view is from almost the same spot. Some of the artists who had arrived before us were leaving or relocating, so I got a spot with a view of our hosts’ dock and next door neighbors. Maybe “next door” isn’t quite the correct term if you need a boat to go borrow a cup of sugar. You’ll notice I haven’t put in a sky yet. Among other improvements I plan are sun-lighting the plant and post at right, about half, at an angle pointing in and down; darkening the shadow behind the boat; and inserting a bit of white reflection in the water below the boat.

Mary likes to paint beaches, so the next day we spent in the sand. We had not only fog but heavy cloud cover. I was drawn to the shiny white line of sunlight breaking through the clouds way in the distance. Of course that condition could not last long, so I painted very fast. I had finished by the time the sun reached me. A few repairs are needed–those brown dots in the sky are unwelcome volunteers. The black streak can stay–it makes a good swooping bird of prey. I used up some old clotted paint to mix my gray sand, and made a virtue of its texture.

The arrival of hot sunlight chased me under a tiki hut, where I found this sea grape plant arranging itself in a pleasing composition.

Yes, this is painting no. 1, enlarged. Working on the iPad is awkward, and things don’t always go where I intended them to go. In fact, this reporting is exhausting me. I’m going to try to upload the next 4 all at once, omitting comments.





Marco Island Paintings Part One: M.C. Reining

I returned from my two-week painting vacation on Marco Island with 14 paintings, and the next two days was back to painting and drawing nudes.  Too much for one blogpost anyway, so I am deferring for a few days the pleasure of showing my art in favor of first displaying the artworks created by my Marco Island hostess, Mary Crawford Reining.

On most occasions, we were looking in the roughly  same direction to paint if not the same scene, neighboring scenes.  You will be able to identify a few exceptions (most prominently the boat featured in my previous posting).   You might find it interesting to compare our different treatments of the same subjects.  But it would be like comparing apples to oranges, which I understand is not a good thing to do.  Mary is a watercolorist (she claims to switch from medium to medium, but I have only seen her painting with watercolors in the five  years that I have been plein air painting with her) and her style is looser than mine.  I have noticed that the more experienced an artist is, the more successfully they attain looseness.  Mary is very experienced, having studied art and having taught art, and, most importantly, having never in all those years ceased to think and behave like an artist.

You will enjoy her paintings:

Within a shelter created by natural canopy

Within a shelter created by natural canopy.  Destined to be a study for a much larger version of the same scene.

Bank of newspaper dispensers in Goodland, in front of "Island Woman"

Bank of newspaper dispensers in Goodland, in front of “Island Woman”.  My version contains only three of the kiosks.

Blue Dolphin sculpture in front of Mangoes

Blue Dolphin sculpture in front of Mangoes.  Celebrating kitsch.

Musicians and crowds at the Farmers Market

Musicians and crowds at the Farmers Market.  That very blue man in the center is the main actor in my version.

Octagonal house in Goodland

Octagonal lemon-green house in Goodland.  Why not?

View found in leeward side of the Jolley Bridge

View found in leeward side of the Jolley Bridge, Day 1 of my visit, very windy!

View found from under the other side of the Jolley Bridge

Another watery residence.  Outboard motor included.

Home in Goodland, from gazebo at MarGood park

Home in Goodland, from gazebo at MarGood park.  (Isn’t that orange reflection just brilliant?)

Yellow Sailboat with Black Sail

Yellow Sailboat with Black Sail.  I actually didn’t get to this scene, but we had it on our agenda.

Study of palm trees in stiff wind

Study of palm trees in stiff wind, at Residents’ Beach.

Plein air still life, French style picnic

Plein air still life, French style picnic  (Bread  looks awfully good–you’d never know it was hard as a rock)

I wish I could send you to a wider online presence of Mary’s, but she keeps a low profile, electronically speaking.  In fact, NO profile at all online.  I know. . . shocking.  But if you were of a mind to purchase any of her artworks, I would be glad to act as intermediary.