Oscar Night

Finishing my Oscar Night painting was a top priority when I got home after my Florida trip, along with tax returns and a report that I have to make annually to the Sierra Club regarding my NH chapter’s activities.  (I mention that nonart stuff as an excuse for not posting a blog last week, as if anyone noticed.)  The title of my Oscar painting is “Going for Gold”, and there is no longer any reason to conceal the title of the movie it represents–our Oscar Night party took place Saturday.  Nobody had much difficulty matching my painting up with “Chariots of Fire.”  Some other artists made it very hard to discern their movie, but not my favorites: Bruce Jones’ circus scene (“The Greatest Show on Earth”) and Rick Dickenson’s portrait of the ship that played the Bounty in “Mutiny on the Bounty”.  I wish I had thought to snap a picture of each of them, but I found them on our Facebook page:

Image 2 Image 3

You can figure out which is which, can’t you?  And that is a wonderful photo of Elaine Farmer laughing in front of the Bounty.  For more pictures of the event:  Facebook page for East Colony Fine Art, with photos of the shindig.    Here is a snapshot of our group, those of us who stuck it out to the end, anyway.  (I was not the only one feeling the pain.)

East Colony Artists on Oscar Night

You’d never know that we usually have a hard time finding anything to wear that is not spotted with paint, much less something fancy to wear on the Red Carpet.  We had an actual Red Carpet laid down as you approached the entrance to our Gallery, and other trappings, including champagne, of an extravagant star-studded celebration.  Popcorn too, for the unstar-studded populace.  A large, flat screen TV was playing snippets from our Oscar-winning movies, with music, but the crowds precluded us from taking it in–but crowds are a good thing.  The game of matching paintings with Oscar titles was taken very seriously by everyone, even though nobody was sure of what the prize was going to be.

And here, at long last, is the absolute final version of Going for Gold.

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I took it in to hang last Monday, but then realized that I did not like the frame.  More precisely, I loved the frame by itself, which was a match to the one on “Margaret and her Nook” (see next photo), but not on this particular painting.  So I took it home again, and rooted around in my frame inventory to  come up with a modest, thin frame.  I wanted black, but could only find gold.  So I added the vertical black strips on each side to simulate a black border.  (I’m sure my faulty photography is responsible for the left border  above looking slanted.)  The new borders were barely dry when I hung the painting Friday afternoon.  Here is how it looked on my wall:

Image 1

See, straight borders on both sides.  Above the Oscar painting is one I call “Athabasca Falls” because, you guessed it, it is a painting of Athabasca Falls in Alberta, Canada, as night was falling.  Long story, that.  And on the right you see Margaret and her Nook.  On the pedestal is a giclee of Freckles, a cat I used to know–and love.  That’s my browse bin with other giclees on offer.  I’m not sure who the gentleman is–he was sitting with his wife on a big ottoman and I could not ask them to move.  Behind him is a short bio and photo of me hanging in a frame.  This is my “half space” for two months.  Some “half spaces” are a little larger than this one; usually I can hang about six paintings, but then, all three of these were larger than my usual.

I have been bad at getting the word out about these events.  In June I will be sharing the Featured Artist spot with Lawrence Donovan.  He’s the guy in the front, on the right, in the tuxedo.  We are trying to work out a theme that we can both live with.  And I have resolved to beat the drum very loudly to get everyone I know out for my opening reception.  So get ready, y’all!

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 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; and at her studio by appointment (email: alotter@mac.com).

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.

Getting Ready for Oscar Night

Illustrating Heroic Effort

Illustrating Heroic Effort

Like Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront,” I “coulda been . . .”– not a contender but an illustrator.  A life drawing professor  (in my senior year at Cornell I lightened up with some “gut” art courses) encouraged me to go for graduate study in illustration.  I brushed it off as totally inconceivable.  Thinking back, I’m not sure why it was so inconceivable.  Probably because my expectations of myself were so grandiose.  I intended to accomplish something globally meaningful–foreign service and diplomacy appealed to me then.  If only I had pursued illustration as a career, I would now be so much further along the road to artistic distinction.

My respect for illustrators has ballooned since I got into the art biz myself–their skills  underpin both Illustration and Fine Art.  [Aside:  one of the pointless debates prevalent in the art community is how to distinguish Fine Art from (a) Illustration and (b) from Craft.]  Many illustrators are also fine artists [i. e., makers of Fine Art].  Many of them stop pursuing commercial work altogether in order to concentrate on making Fine Art.   They have to be among the best, or slightly nuts, or both.  (I also suspect a highly compensated spouse factors into those decisions.)   Illustrators tell a story?  Illustrators paint by commission?  That’s exactly how fine artists  operated in the past. Monumental paintings depicting events and telling stories were always painted to satisfy a patron.  Like the Sistine Chapel.  Like Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”:

The Nightwatch by Rembrandt

The Nightwatch by Rembrandt

Like DeBray’s “Antony and Cleopatra”:

Jan de Bray - The Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra

Jan de Bray – The Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra

Commissioned or not, telling a story is illustration.  Why is there even an effort to distinguish illustration from fine art?  Photography–invention of–accounts for a lot of new issues besetting artists.  Photographers can tell stories, produce portraits with a lot less effort and expense.  Artists have had to find new ways, different markets, in order to survive as a full-time artist.  Hence:  abstract art.  To sum up, the existence of abstract art is a reflection of the artist’s need to find a meaning in her art that is distinct from story-telling or portrait-making, now the role of photography.  That’s how I see it, but bear in mind I have never taken a single course in art appreciation or art history.  I have no business pontificating on matters of which I am uninstructed!

But I have wandered far from my main topic.  My painting above results from an order to produce a painting that illustrates an Oscar-winning motion picture.  Oscar Night at East Colony is March 1, the day before the actual 2013 Oscar awards ceremony.  Each of the 30 East Colony artists is choosing a movie, and our patrons and followers will be invited to guess what movie is being  illustrated by each of us.  Winners will receive a cute little Oscar replica.  Oscar Night:  Saturday March 1, 4-7 p.m., at 55 So. Commercial Street, Manchester, NH.

Because of the contest, I can’t tell you what movie I am illustrating, but isn’t it all too obvious?  I feel it is obvious because the movie was one of my favorites (along with “On the Waterfront”).   Hint:  this movie would have been nothing without its music .

To create my illustration, I looked for images on the internet that matched up with the figure I envisaged as my central figure.  The blurring motion of the hands was suggested by one of those images.  It’s not a slam dunk to suggest hands without actually painting hands.  I think I got it.  Even more important to the illustration was need the feel the runner’s huge gasps for breath, and his straining to keep his speed up.  The shapes and value changes in his chest and neck achieve that, I hope.  This painting is, however, not completely done.  The background that I invented to stay in the background is nevertheless too dull– appropriately so in the story-telling sense, but a cop-out in the painterly sense.  The background should be able to stand on its own as a painting, don’t you think? I have a week to get it right.

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: alotter@mac.com).

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.