Inspired by Cornwall

All last week I was preoccupied with my participation in the workshop with Cameron Bennett, which he titled “Inspired by Cornwall” because it was. . . inspired by his time living in Cornwall and becoming familiar with such artists as Alfred Munnings and Laura Knight–the Newlyn School.  We were to paint the figure in landscape, en plein air, because that is what the Newlyn painters did.  Their history has been made into a movie, “Summer in February”, which is being described with such terms as “complex”, “wild”, “incendiary”;  our assignment, to re-create the that atmosphere, was a departure from the usual workshop fare.  Every day was threatened with rain, but we must have had the luck of the Irish with us because the sun shone for us each day.  Until Friday.

Monday, Cameron handed out an essay written by him on the Cornish painters, treated us to a slide show of representative paintings, and demonstrated his own approach to the subject at the location–Pretty Park– and with the model that we would use the next day–Margaret.


Tuesday and Wednesday, we painted at a local cemetery with Dennis (he of the portrait that I did a few weeks ago) in the morning, and with Margaret at Pretty Park in the afternoon.

Dennis, bridge in Pine Grove Cemetery

Dennis, bridge in Pine Grove Cemetery

Margaret in Pretty Park

Margaret in Pretty Park

Thursday we went to the Seacoast and spent most of the day on this pose.

Grace at Odiorne, with Big Hat

Grace at Odiorne, with Big Hat

When the sun seemed about to leave us, and the wind picked up, Cameron set us up on the edge of the beach with only 40 minutes to paint, and like a drill sergeant, prodded us on to finish a gestural study.

Grace, standing at edge

Grace, standing at edge

Friday, we were all but comatose and welcomed the excuse of potential rain to retreat into the Institute to paint a figure in an interior setting.  I never quite got around to the setting.

Grace, another profile--red shirt

Grace, another profile–red shirt

It’s not good as a portrait, but  I like it as a figure study.

Cameron showed more slides to remind us of what we were supposed to be learning.  I hope I absorbed the learning by osmosis because my brain was pretty drowsy by that time.  At the end of Friday, we staggered out of the building into a gorgeous late afternoon, too tired to notice.

About the Currier Museum poster competition that I may have mentioned once or twice in the past:  I made it into the semifinals, and as a result, I have a piece of my artwork hanging in the Museum.  Yea!  ( I didn’t win.)

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Kimball-Jenkins Gallery in Concord, NH; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at Stella Blu , an American Tapas restaurant in Nashua; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester (part of the Healing with Art program); and at her studio by appointment.  Two paintings are also hanging in the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter.  And a poster at the Currier Museum!

A Cloudy Day on Top of Cannon Mountain

Cannon Mountain is a ski mountain, owned and operated by the State of New Hampshire as a State Park.  During the summer, one of the ski lifts, a tramway, takes tourists up to the top–and down again–to enjoy the view from the top and the sights along the way.  Today I was lucky to be on the tram that passed over mama bear, grazing in the path of the tram.  Ordinarily the views both from the tram and the top are of distant mountains in Maine, Vermont, Northern New Hampshire, and Canada.  Today, those views were momentarily available on my ride down.  Down, after enduring the wind and chill of the summit, trying to make a painting.  Good thing I don’t really like to paint long-view vistas, because the only objects visible were those located within 100 yards.

For photos of what it could look like from the top of Cannon Mountain, check out the website here.

For how it looked today before the clouds completely enveloped the summit:

Cannon skilift

Housing for a Cannon ski lift (or, what I could see before clouds completely socked in)

I tried another painting when I got back down to parking lot level, but really dark and threatening clouds came rolling in our direction and we hied it out of there.  We drove over to Crawford Notch prospecting for sunlight, stopped by the Bartlett Inn to make sure our October Artists Weekend reservations were in, and, failing to discover any better weather, ate our way home.  (Stopped for supper at the Yankee Smokehouse in Ossipee and for ice cream at Morrisey’s in Wolfsboro.)

Most of last week I spent laboring, still laboring, in the effort to whip my files at the law office into submission.  On Friday, however, I took a break to attend my portrait class with Dee Riley, and produced this drawing of new model, Dennis.

Portrait of Dennis in charcoal

Portrait of Dennis in charcoal

I did not think (and neither did Deirdre)  until today that his ear looks awfully small.  Maybe he has small ears.  The class will be spending two more sessions on this pose.  I will miss the next two classes because this Friday I will be in Maine for the Castine Plein Air Festival, and next Friday I will be at a plein air with figure workshop with Cameron Bennett.

Cameron taught portrait drawing and painting at the NH Institute of Art before moving to England  last year.  He is offering this workshop at short notice to coincide with his visit back  home to New Hampshire.  Most of his old (previous, some also like me, old) students are excitedly looking forward to seeing him again, getting the scoop on practicing art in England, and sopping up all the learning he acquired in the byways of Cornwall, because the title of the workshop is “Inspired by Cornwall”.

As we are already nearing the end of July, let me alert you to Trolley Night coming up on August 1.  Trolley Night, a/k/a Open Doors, consists of trolleys providing free transport between the art venues of Manchester, starting with Langer Place, where East Colony Fine Art Gallery is located.  Trolley Night in Manchester  used to happen four times a year, then it was three times a year.  Now, only twice.  So don’t pass this one up.  The East Colony Gallery puts on a special show just for Trolley Night, in addition to the regular exhibit:  Picnic! is the theme of the special show.  So come Thursday, August 1, between 5 and 8.  The food is great, the people welcoming, and the art fantastic.

If you have voted in the Currier poster contest at my behest, thank you (whether you voted “correctly” or not).  If you have not done that yet, here is the link to the Museum’s home page: Currier.  Look there for the link to the poster contest.  This may work better for those of you who had trouble with my link to the contest site.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Kimball-Jenkins Gallery in Concord, NH; at the Bedford Library in Bedford; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at Stella Blu , an American Tapas restaurant in Nashua; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester (part of the Healing with Art program); and at her studio by appointment.  Two paintings are also hanging in the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter.

The White Mountains of New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a Seacoast region, a Lakes region, and countless quaint farms and towns, but to the rest of the world, New Hampshire means but one thing:  the White Mountains.  They do rather stand out, compared to all those other things.  I believe “white” comes from the glimpse that early seafarers got of them, when covered by snow.  Or perhaps it was the sun glinting off the granite.

In any event, they became the subject of many 19th century paintings.  Champney, Bierstadt, and dozens of others explored and painted the Whites.  For a complete rundown, go to White Mountain Art.   Right now there are two major exhibits of White Mountain paintings, one in Jackson and another in Plymouth.  The former we have visited twice before.  The latter is housed in a brand new Museum of the White Mountains on the campus of Plymouth State College.  We stopped there to check it out on our way to Bartlett last Thursday.  We came away with a map showing the coordinates of several locations, that is, the coordinates to the spot where the painter stood to paint or make his sketch (probably not many of the paintings were painted outdoors).  My painting buddy, Sharon, aspires to paint like the Old Masters, and her enthusiasm led her to download a GPS app to her smartphone, and led both of us over hill and dale in search of the right spots.  It was fun.  Unfortunately, progress or tree growth interfered with many replications.

My plein air painting No. 1 is a covered bridge not far from Plymouth.

Smith Millenium Bridge

Smith Millenium Bridge

Friday, we got in two painting segments:  the first was in the strawberry fields below Cathedral Ledge.

Strawberry Fields (Cathedral Ledge)

Strawberry Fields (Cathedral Ledge) (No.2)

Usually, my first painting is my best, I think because the inspirational tug is strongest with the first try.  If you don’t count the covered bridge–it was on the way into the mountains, not quite there yet–this is the first.  And it could be the best.  But there are four more, and you might like one of them better.

Friday afternoon we went on our first expedition in search of Old Master painting spot:  Mt. Adams as captured by Champney.  The actual spot was right in the middle of the Auto Road up Mt. Washington, but we found a better one off to the side.

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams (No. 3)



The snow-streaked mountain in the background of my painting is Mt. Jefferson, and on the far left is the beginning of Mt. Washington, which is a sprawling kind of mountain, lumping its way to the highest point in the Northeast.  (Last January I had painted a view of this lumpy part of Mt. Washington  on that misery-filled plein air weekend.)

Saturday we found our own spots.  The day before, on our way back to the Bartlett Inn from the Mt. Adams spot, a stream near the highway had caught our eye and so the next morning we went in search of it.  Sharon sometimes ends up in my paintings, and I was particularly glad of the added interest her hat brought to the scene.

Roadside Painter

Roadside Painter (No. 4)

After a while, the noise of the traffic hurtling by next to us faded from consciousness and all we heard was the gurgling water.

In the afternoon, Sharon introduced me to Echo Lake, at the foot of White Horse Ledge.  It was an idyllic spot.  Sandy beach, picnic benched (excellent to paint from–you can really spread out your stuff), lively visitors (and I don’t mean the black flies)–one of whom demonstrated the echo for the rest of us.

White Horse Ledge over Echo Lake

White Horse Ledge over Echo Lake (No. 5)

My painting had at one point a much more literal depiction of the ledge, but its very literalness bothered me, so I loaded up my palette knife and spread paint liberally.  Perhaps something in between would have worked better.  Supposedly there is an image of a horse, whitish maybe, delineated in the cracks of this ledge, but I sure couldn’t see it and I wasn’t about to fake it either.

Sunday was a travel day, but we did get in one painting late in the day before heading back South.  It was the product of another Champney search, this time in Sugar Hill.  Mt. Lafayette is on the left and Cannon is on the right.  Personally, I would call it another view of Franconia Notch.


I’d say this is about half done.  The dark clouds arrived, threatening rain, before I even touched the sky.   The sky had been a dull gray before that anyway.  Cannon is a ski mountain, and I’m not sure I want to put the ski trails in.  But why not?  I don’t know.  View is from Lovers Lane, in Sugar Hill.

All of my paintings on this trip were 9×12, except Roadside Painter which was 10×12.  I figured I was out of plein air practice, and the smaller format would help me finish paintings.  That was correct.  Perhaps smaller will mean more salable too.  Eventually, I plan to take them back to hang in Bartlett Inn.

Or I may take them to the Beacon Hill Art Walk on June 2.  I am trying to decide whether to take only figurative works, only landscapes, or the best of both.  I’m sharing a tent with Bruce Jones, who does beautiful work in the style of Don Stone.  I’m not sure I want mine compared to his.

Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:

at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester (Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at Stella Blu , an American Tapas restaurant in Nashua; at her law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester (part of the Healing with Art program) and at her studio by appointment.  Through May 30, nine of her Boston Arboretum paintings will be displayed at the Leach Library in Londonderry, NH.  On Sunday, June 2, she will be participating in the Beacon Hill Art Walk, in Boston.

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.