I have continued to be Very Bad and Unrepentant.  Finding oneself takes time.  I had to write an artist’s bio last week, and instead of reciting biographical facts about myselves, I skipped merrily over past incarnations to state affirmatively–I’m all mixed up but happily so.  Here is how I put it:

Pursuing a profession in the arts is inevitably a struggle because excellence is never actually attained. One is always reaching. Aline has found herself reaching in more than one direction at a time, which for a long time has confused her and perhaps worried her followers. But she now has decided to embrace the diversity of her subject matter and styles and celebrate each on its own terms. Her style ranges from loose and impressionistic to refined and deliberate. Meanwhile, she has served notice that she will be experimenting with abstracted landscapes as well.

And indeed I do today have something to show for that last bold statement.  I attended a three-day workshop on Abstracting the Landscape with Barbara Danser, who teaches at the NH Institute of Art but last weekend (yes, including Mother’s Day) was teaching for the Currier Art School (an offshoot of the Currier Museum of Art, which I serve as a docent).  Barbara started us off slow, with a photograph that we chose from many that she had ready.  Then she had us paint the same scene without referring to the photo.  I believe the purpose might have been to divorce us from the details and focus us on the big picture  (so to speak).  Also to this end, I believe, she imposed time limits as a way of weaning us away from detail in our paintings.  In the beginning, the limit was fifteen minutes for each effort.  Later on, she allowed us 30 minutes, perhaps even more when she saw us close to accomplishing something.


From Photo


From memory of photo

After that one use of a photo for inspiration, Barbara gave us “Prompts” as inspiration.  The first one involved a female walking on a beach in the mist.


Beachwalker in the mist (6×6)

For the next one, she played some music.  I wish I could remember what it was–classical for sure.  Debussy?


From a musical prompt

I deployed my palette knife more than usual because that is a faster way to lay down lots of paint.  Once I had the paint on the panel, I could move it around.  I had been using paper to paint on, but with the one above, I used a panel that I had previously painted on.  There is no trace of the original painting showing through.

After lunch on the first day (Friday), Barbara gave us another photo to work from:  that of a wave.  We had a choice of waves.  I chose the more dramatic of the two:


Wave from photo

Naturally, we then had to paint the same wave from memory:


Wave from memory

After the wave, we got no more photos to use as references, but we examined the works of other abstract landscapists to get us in the mood.  I also found myself mentally referring back to paintings I had painted years ago, which was a little spooky.

The sequence of the next seven paintings, and the specific prompts for each one, has gotten a little muddled in my mind.  What I can remember about each one I have put in the caption, which I believe you will be able to read if you click on the image.  All of them were either 8×10 or 9×12, but I have accepted WordPress’s suggestion for varying the apparent sizes.

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; and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.

And save the date of Wednesday, June 22 for a reception at Labelle Winery in Bedford of the Petals 2 Paint event whereat floral designers create live flower arrangements inspired by a painting.  This is an annual event of the East Colony Fine Art artists and seems likely to be their last show as a group.  The flowers don’t last more than a couple of days, so  you might as well plan to come for the reception.

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

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Layering Water

This week I was almost a full-time artist. Tuesday, I attended a figure workshop in the morning and painted at the Bedford Farmers’ Market in the afternoon:

Friday I tended Gallery (Manchester Artists Association) and passed my time by painting a sunset with reflections in puddles, thinking to prepare myself for Saturday:

Saturday I attended another one of our periodic single-issue-landscape workshops with Peter Granucci; the topic of the day was handling see-through water, that is, water shallow enough to allow you to see to the bottom. More about that later.

Sunday Sharon and I met up with other NH Plein Air artists at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts. Our mission was to paint, but we also visited the art musuem on the grounds. On exhibit from their permanent collection were paintings by the Hudson River painters; on special exhibit were paintings by New England impressionists from the turn of the century. Only one name was familiar to me–Childe Hassam. My favorite of the heretofore unknown impressionists was a guy called Clifford Grear Alexander. I googled him, but other than his dates (1870-1954), no biographical information is available. Both Sharon and I were struck by the fact that many, if not most, of the paintings in these two exhibits were of New Hampshire scenes.

Farm House at the Fruitlands Museum, 11×14; when I got bored by this painting, I applied high contrast outlines to see the effect. I like it.

Meadow at the Fruitlands Museum, 11×14.

Monday, today, I put more time in on the Meadow because I had only one hour’s work into it on location. One of the docents had told me she saw a doe with two fawns at the tree line, so I added them to the scene. I wish I had a better grasp of deer anatomy, but people keep referring to our Great Dane as a deer, so I put her in the painting, hoping she passes as a deer from a distance.

The title of this blog, “Layering Water”, comes from the Saturday workshop. The point of the workshop was to learn to see all the layers created by water, and then, armed with that understanding, represent them in a painting. There is the reflection on the water, which requires that the water be relatively still. There is the surface at the bottom of the water, which requires either no reflections, or that any reflected object be in shadow–you cannot see through a reflection if the reflection is lit. If you can see the bottom rocks, mud and whatever, you need to note color changes and value changes but much more subtly than if the water was not present to obscure the view. Sometimes it’s hard to decide whether you are looking at a reflection or at something that exists under the water, especially if your reference has no context. Peter started us off with photographic examples that made our heads spin. Then we worked on two assignments. Here are my results:

The assignment on the left was relatively straightforward. Below, on the left,  is a closeup of one of shadows formed by the submerged rocks.  The closeup on the right is reflected grass–note that the reflection is darker because the underside of the blade of grass is not lit by the sun.


The second photograph was hard to deciper.  We believe that the lighter shape at the top may be an overhanging rock. The middle section is supposed to represent a partially submerged rock extending toward a fully submerged ledge. Why is the water line so dark? I still don’t know what to make of the dark shape between the overhanging ledge and the submerged ledge, but in the middle of it is another rocky shape that suggests the whole dark piece is a shadow cast by — something outside our view, or the overhanging ledge? Peter wouldn’t say. He took the photo but maybe he couldn’t remember, or maybe he just enjoys torturing us.