In order to keep something going on my easel, I am taking a summer class at the Institute with an instructor new to me. Stuart Ober is leading a course called “Independent Explorations in Oil Painting”, a scope broad enough to cover just about any subject matter and any style. If I want to, I can switch between new abstraction experiments and long-shelved realistic projects.
First up: a double portrait that I started maybe six years ago, before my first class with Cameron Bennett. I had been using a photograph as reference, and so lost interest in it after being introduced to the joy and challenges of painting from life. But it was a quite large canvas, gallery-wrapped too, so not something to be discarded. It had haunted my studio from the window sill, and one of the cats had thrown up on the top, so the dried up vomit cascaded down the front of the canvas. Charming. My first job was cleaning off the vomit.
I do have photographs of a small study I finished all those years ago, when I was still more of a fumbler, and the start of the larger painting. You’ll have to imagine the vomit for yourself.
The girls are my two granddaughters, Tabitha on the left and her younger half-sister Natalie on the right. At the time of the photograph, Natalie was about 13 years old, yet she looks older than her 22-year old sister. Photographs do lie.
Newbury Street in Boston was the location of the photo. I had taken the two girls down to Boston for a First Friday tour of the South of Washington art scene (SOWA)*. To get them to accompany me, I had to promise a nice dinner out on Newbury Street. The wall between the restaurant and the street had been removed. We were lucky to get a table next to the sidewalk. Over their shoulders you are seeing the lights of street activity.
At this point, I have spent two classes attempting to bring the large portrait to a conclusion. It is so much better than it was when I cleaned it off, and even if I never get around to perfecting it, I’m not embarrassed by it.
But I long to “finish” this painting in the academic sense, examining every edge. Too hard? Too soft? There is no deadline.
*Originally I had written (erroneously) “Market” for Washington, lapsing back to the days when I haunted San Francisco, where the Market Street delineated the artsy area from the more commercial areas of the downtown. SOMA is San Francisco, SOHO is NYC (South of Houston St.) and SOWA is Boston (South of Washington Street). SOWA is to be distinguished from the higher rent artsy district found on Newbury Street in Boston.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
At the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the New Hampshire Antique Co-op in Milford; at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Manchester, part of the Healing with Art program; at the Bedford Library; at Bentley Commons in Bedford; and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.
ONLY A WEEK AWAY: Wednesday, June 22 is the reception at Labelle Winery in Bedford for the Petals 2 Paint show whereat floral designers create live flower arrangements inspired by a painting by participating East Colony artists. This has been an annual event of the East Colony Fine Art artists for many years. Since the live flowers last only a few days, you might as well plan to come for the reception (5-8 Wednesday), but the paintings and their floral complements will be on view the next day.
As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, phone cases, pillows and the like 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 by email to email@example.com.
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