Art under Stress

I’ve had a bad week.  It started a week ago Friday night when I downloaded my bank statement and discovered all my money had vanished.  Someone had been systematically withdrawing a few hundred here, a few hundred there, using apparently a clone of my debit card.  I managed to freeze the card and send off agitated messages to the bank, but that was going to have to “it”  until Monday because I was committed for the entire weekend to “Art in Action”–a semi-annual event in Londonderry that combines display and demonstration.  The bad stuff continued the next morning–Saturday–when I was packing up my car with all the gear required for Art in Action:    My backpack could not be found.  This Creativo ArtPak backpack contained all of the supplies I was going to be using for the demonstrations:  Soltek easel, Rosemary brushes, Michael Harding oil paints, palette knives, brush holder, brush washer with Gamsol, brush tube, little container of Liquin–all inexplicably gone.  And I could not do a damn thing about it until Monday.   Fortunately, I’m big into redundancy, so had no problem gathering up a backup easel, paints, brushes.  I even had a second brush washer.  Off I went to Londonderry, with my little Prius loaded down with display panels and 8 paintings (the display), and my two helpers sharing the front passenger’s seat.  The helpers were my daughter, who would also serve as my model, and my boarder, who performed as the muscle.

Whereupon an interesting phenomenon revealed itself:  despite, or because of, the stress I must have been suffering  subconsciously, I was easily able to zone in on my painting.  Maybe I zoned too much, to the point of ignoring the small streams of people flowing past me, instead of engaging them like I was supposed to.  Some kind of compulsion held sway over me; perhaps I just needed the escape from daily woes that always comes from surrendering to the art.  Whatever, I turned out some good stuff to show you and was looking forward to getting them published last Monday . . . when the knockout blow came.  I found out that the perpetrator of my losses was someone whom I had loved and trusted.  There would be no more escape into painting for the rest of the week as I juggled that mess alongside urgent tasks and important meetings related to my many volunteer activities.

The crisis is over.  The bank has restored the funds to me and the perp found another patsy to cover the theft so as to avoid prosecution from the bank; and my homeowners insurance is covering the loss of the backpack.  I am starting to sleep better.  The hole in my life that represented a certain loved one is still empty and most likely will stay that way permanently.  But I am moving on.  So here, a week late, are the three paintings I was working on during the Art in Action show.

For the first one, I asked my daughter to sit for her portrait again (she did this for me at last Spring’s Art in Action ).  I didn’t want to include her dog this  year as I wanted to complete a more serious oeuvre.  I had a spotlight lighting up her right side and a black drape behind her.  We started about 10:30 and I declared it finished about 2:30.  Nancy looks sad and tired, and that was her on that day. But she loves the painting and my portrayal of her.  Can’t ask much more from a portrait.

Portrait of my daughter

Portrait of my daughter

The next day, Sunday, I worked from a  photo that another artist, Rollande Rouselle, had emailed to me with assurances that copying rights belonged to her.  She wanted to see what I could do with it.

Haitian boy, photo

Haitian boy, photo

I had it on my iPad and was able to set up the iPad practically next to my easel.  I cropped the photo in order to enlarge the facial features.

Haitian laborer

Working Boy

The hardest element was the bundle of sticks, but I worked at it until the blobs of paint conveyed the idea, and then I quit.

I still had about an hour left so then I picked out a photo of a cat from a book of cat photos, and got this far on it.

Grey-eyed cat (wip)

Grey-eyed cat (wip)

My efforts to paint the perfect “Fur” a few months ago stood me in good stead.  Should I finish?  Once  you get the eyes of a cat, the rest is window-dressing.


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 the lower level of the Bedford Public Library, Bedford, 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 the private feedback form below. 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!


Letting down

Thank goodness, it’s all over. The one-day show on Saturday that I was furiously prepping for–it ended without disaster. Sure, two rods holding the tent up broke, but I had whimsically thrown in some duct tape at the last minute, which rescued that situation. And my little crew of two useless females and one strong clever one were assisted by the men on either side of us in getting that “EZ Up” up. E-Z, bah humbug! It is not anything I could have accomplished alone, that’s for sure. My granddaughter (the strong clever member of the crew) was there at beginning and end for the heavy lifting part, and my daughter kept me company during the day with her mini Pomeranian dog. The sun came in and out, a little breeze snaked in every now and then, and the rain didn’t start until we were packing up. Here is what my 10 ft by 10 ft space looked like.

Left corner

Right Corner

I was the only artist there whose entire exhibit (almost) featured paintings of nudes. (28 works framed, of which all but one were paintings; of the paintings, all but three were paintings of nudes) Apparently there was some controversy generated by the decision to show nudes. Two artists (artists!) boycotted the event in protest. But the organizer promised me, when it was all over and we were packing everything up, that they would continue to allow artistic nudes to be exhibited. It grieves me to report that there were at least three other artists present whose nudes were more award-worthy than the one I picked out as my award candidate. I wish I could show you what these winning works looked like, but the Londonderry Art on the Common PR machine has not got as far as issuing press releases or creating a blog.

On a cheerier note, I was a winner in another show. It opened in Plymouth at the Gallery at Red Gate Farm, last Friday. I couldn’t get there because I couldn’t find a ride (granddaughter needed the car more than I did), but I heard it was the best reception ever, and one of my two paintings was honored. Not sure for what, exactly–just a really nice painting. The theme of the show is “Reinventing the Farm. My painting was “Apples Ready to Pick”, and indeed, I painted them at Mack’s Apples, which allows people to come in and pick their own. I guess you could say that is one way of reinventing the farm.

Apples Ready to Pick

Lest you think I was too preoccupied by the above activities to paint, let me reassure you, by no means! I have two new nudes:

Standing Nude

I had to cheat a bit on the length of his legs in order to fit the feet in the picture. I deliberately left the feet kind of unfinished-looking, but notice how well they are planted. I really love this painting just the way it is, dribbles of diluted paint and all. Cameron, if you are reading this, I would love to hear from you whether you think I can “get away” with leaving this painting in this unfinished state.

It was not dry enough for me to mount it for the show, but I stuck it in a frame anyway and displayed it. You can probably pick it out in the photograph of the Right Corner; it is in the middle, on the ground but leaning against the wall. Many of my portly visitors, when they saw it, started considering a new career in modeling.

My second nude of the week is from a 3-hour workshop with Peter Clive, an instructor at the NH Institute of Art. I spent half the time watching him do a demo, and the other half trying to emulate (in small degree) his tighter approach, starting from highlights, then filling in dark accents, and last, working in the midtones. I think I usually start with the midtones. Everybody has their own “attack”, one that works best for them.

Seated Nude (M)

You’ve probably remarked on how restrained this painting is, compared to my usually more bravura approach. The skin tone is totally realistic. I do like it. Although the skin is quite light, the highly lit parts not look chalky. The highlights on my other nudes tend to bleach out. Must have something to do with values, with contrast. One of these days, I will get to the bottom of that.

One last thing of note–only because I have photographs. I will only subject you to one as I know you must be tiring. This is one section of an exhibit of plein air paintings from five or six members of the NH Plein Air group.

NH Plein Air exhibit at Pantano Gallery

One of mine is on the top left. Flo Parlangeli has two–top right and bottom left. Barbara Carr did the one on the bottom right. To see the entire exhibit, go to the Southern NH University in Hooksett, NH, find the library (Shapiro Library, if there are more than one) and then locate the Pantano Gallery within the Library.

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 Gallery at Red Gate Farm in Plymouth; at the Yoga Balance Studio in Manchester; at the Pantano Gallery in the Shapiro Library at Southern NH University; at the law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.