When Something Ends . . .

Something else comes along to fill the vacuum.  Last week, I had to announce to all on my list of figure artists that I was ending the Monday Life Group, after more than five years I think.  It does not work as a drop-in kind of thing unless a sufficient number of artists are willing to show up a few times a month.  I needed five artists to break even at the other studio, three to break even at my home studio.  When times were good, more than the minimum would show up, and I would have extra money to tide me over those weeks when not enough artists showed up; but when  you get down to three, there’s just no slack to work with.

Being forced to paint every Monday from the live model was very good for me and for my progress as an artist;  I feel lucky to have had that experience for so long.  There is a silver lining though, in the opening up of a whole half day in my calendar.  I’ll have more time to lead tours at the Currier, work on my blog and finally get to more floral paintings.  Perhaps flowers will replace figures.

So here is the last of the MLG output:  my granddaughter Natalie.

Natalie on arm of sofa

Natalie on arm of sofa

I booked her for only two weeks, and it just proves that two weeks is not quite enough to complete a portrait, no matter how loose the style.  I would have like to do more work on the hair and skin tone, but I pressed to get a face in. It is a pretty nice likeness, right down to the pained expression.  Her hip was hurting.

My other output last week was in Canterbury, the town center of Canterbury.  I have many times painted in Canterbury Shaker Village, but never before in the town of Canterbury.  We (plein air artists) were invited to paint during the Farmers Market and bring some works to sell, but Flo Parlangeli and I went out there in the morning, before the Market, so as to have something of the town to show, maybe sell.  We were warmly welcomed by the people of Canterbury, especially the hospitable librarians.  Chocolate cake with vanilla icing left over from a library anniversary party the night before!  And bathrooms!  The Market itself takes place in the Library parking lot.  To paint our first painting, however, we set up outside the general store, called the Canterbury Country Store.  I later learned that the Town owns that store, probably because it’s not really a going proposition.  But it sells good ice cream!  There was a constant stream of residents stopping in for one thing or another.  That was when we noticed one coming out with the ice cream cone.  We had to immediately take a break and try the ice cream.  Also the storefront looks adorable:

Canterbury Country Store

Canterbury Country Store

Maybe I can count this as a floral painting.

We moved downhill to the Library and the Market mid-afternoon, where we were joined by Sharon Allen, Mary Crump and Ann Traynor Domingue.   The Market was fun.  School kids were given some kind of scavenger hunt which required them to ask an artist what “plein air” meant.  That’s why we were invited!

I was at that point a little tired, and being pleased with what I had already painted in the morning, not in the mood to stretch myself.  I looked for a convenient subject, one that allowed me to keep my easel shaded and the table with my paintings for sale nearby.  By facing toward the sun, I can keep my painting shaded, and the painting itself keeps the palette in shade.  The subject I found when I faced the sun was Sharon:

Sharon at Canterbury Market

Sharon at Canterbury Market

I don’t know why she needed two things protecting her from the sun–her canopy chair was backed up by her ShadeBuddy–but my depiction is accurate (as always).  Notice the plastic bag that she throws her oil-smeared paper towels in.  She uses those blue shop towels, as do I, because they are much sturdier that ordinary kitchen paper towels, even Viva, and I wish I had got the blue towel more prominently present in the picture.  Sharon has burned her name onto the back of her Guerrilla pochade box.  See that orange straw coming out of the plastic cup?  Sharon keeps Dunkin Donuts in business single-handedly.  I believe, but am not positive, that Sharon was painting the musician who was playing his heart out just behind me.  I could have done him instead, but it would have been complicated since I could not use my ShadeBuddy on the hard macadam surface where I was so comfortably chilling’ out.  Yeah, I was just lazy.

The rest of my week was taken up with so much interference:  meetings, exhibit chores (I was appointed chair of an exhibit in Concord — see below), physical therapy (I’m going to solve the new knee problem and maybe even the old lower back problem that keeps me from standing to paint).  At my age, because of my age?, I am productive only half the time I am awake; the rest of the time I am chillin’ out.  I like to think of chilling out as restorative, but worry that it’s not restoring anything useful.

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;  and at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester.  I have also had a painting at the Red River Theatre all month, which I had overlooked in previous posts, but it comes down at the end of the week.  And for the month of October I have two paintings in the Womens Club of Concord, part of a three-part 20th anniversary exhibit by the Womens Caucus for Art.  However, the hours during which the WCC is accessible to the public are unpredictable.  You can visit the other two parts of the 20th Anniversary exhibits at the Kimball Jenkins carriage house and the Concord Chamber of Commerce.

As usual, you may view paintings with prices and order prints, iPhone cases 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 alotter@mac.com.

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!

Hands and Feet

Last week, I hadn’t done much new in the painting department, so I looked for a topic that I could discuss using past doings.  I came up with “hands and feet”, and even got started with this text.  But then my computerized photo library went kerfluey, and as you probably know, kerfluey computers tend to soak up all available time until they are fixed.  “Fixed” has still not occurred, but in the meantime I found the time to produce new art–because I sent the recalcitrant Mac Mini to the geniuses at the local Apple store.  Luckily, I was in a position to repossess an iMac I had loaned to a granddaughter–I am very much into Redundancy, and it has worked for me.

So I will complete what I wanted to say originally about hands and feet, and seque into a somewhat more moments issue, one that has less to do with drawing and more to do with an entire approach to painting.

This will not be my first discussion of hands, but I am shocked to see that it has been so long since I first addressed that subject.  I thought maybe 18, at most 24 months.  But it was over 45  months ago!  See that earlier blog from October of 2010 here. My overall strategy when trying to depict hands and feet with paint is to first swipe in the larger shape and then try to array the fingers and toes with quick, unlabored strokes.  If the strokes work, then I push the paint around a bit, add light and dark values, toying with the elements–before wiping them out and starting over.  If the first strokes don’t work, or the toying with them loses the first good strokes, I don’t give up hope.

[Not giving up is the most important part of painting.  Eventually, if you keep trying, it comes together, more or less.  Mine have come together before, so I know the next one will too– eventually, as long as I keep trying.]

Let’s examine a few efforts:

Large quickie of a pose

Large quickie of a pose

These are perfect examples of what I always TRY to do–get the shape and size correct, let my strokes suggest fingers if I am lucky.  Below are some hands I had been working on the last two weeks–first are the “draft” ones, then the finished ones:

Detail, Week 1 of Pose

Detail, Week 1 of Pose


After second week, I’m not exactly proud because there is little improvement.  Sometimes that happens too–I keep trying to find the magic, and I keep getting the pedestrian.

Take a look at yesterday’s hand:

29 Weeks

29 Weeks

As I worked on her hand, I was consciously applying what I knew I was going to write about in the blog.  We can only speculate whether that helped.  I painted that hand at least five times, not changing anything really, just varying the contrast, the values.  But I did that very same thing to the entire body.

This was a first-time model, recruited by one of our regulars when she learned that we value the opportunity to paint a pregnant woman.  We have her for next Monday’s session too, but I think I am content with this effort and so plan to work on a portrait next week.

I set up the lighting for “29 Weeks” to create maximum contrast between the light hitting her directly and the shadows behind her.  But even while planning to paint a “light and shadow” version, I was pondering whether I am more attuned to “local tone” painters, as one of my DVD experts, Quang Ho, terms it.  Van Gogh, for instance.  Van Gogh paints relatively flat colors, representing the actual color of the object without showing the effect of light or shadow.  To separate elements one from another, he often outlines them in a dark line.  To create texture and interest in large shapes, he makes patterns.  No gradation, no atmospheric perspective.  Here’s a good example:

A Meadow in the Mountains Le  Mas de Saint-Paul 1889Paul (1889), by Van Gogh

A Meadow in the Mountains Le Mas de Saint-Paul 1889Paul (1889), by Van Gogh

Imitating Van Gogh gives me a instantaneous rush of pleasure–it could be the thick paint, the permission to abandon shading, the richness of color.  Whatever, I feel good even when the painting turns out not so good.  Achieving a quality result result after hours of laboring over the core shadows, the half tones, the reflected light, etc, etc, leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment, but no real “high”.  As I painted “29 Weeks” I was thinking about that even as I painted light and shadow.  Maybe, for next week, I should try the Van Gogh approach and see how it comes out.  And see if it gives me a “high”.

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 in Bartlett and the Bernerhof Inn in Glen; 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; two paintings are hanging at the Bedford Library as part of the Womens Caucus For Art exhibit “Summer Bounty”;  a single painting is on view at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester for the summer; 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 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!


Just One Thing

I went a whole week without painting!  That made me feel disconnected somehow, as if I had landed on some strange, new level of existence.  But I got other stuff done, stuff that needed to get done.  And there was Thanksgiving.  No problem there–went to my son’s house to get stuffed and was not allowed to bring even one dish.  I had to “sit” the gallery for East Colony the day before Thanksgiving, during which I read parts of some art books.  I never get around to finishing books anymore. And I copied some Van Gogh drawings out of one of the books.  On Friday I went to a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert–Brahms and Beethoven, an unbeatably enjoyable combo, enjoyed that day by probably the oldest audience I have ever seen there for the Friday matinee–younger folks were apparently out Black-Friday shopping.  Saturday, East Colony held its annual holiday gift sale, for which I contributed 6×6 panels, and someone finally bought “Toughie”.  (When I created Toughie for the Womens Caucus for Art show a few years ago, I thought Toughie would be gobbled up by the first person to lay eyes on it.) Forgot who Toughie is?  Here’s a reminder:



But all week I was thinking about finishing the painting of Margaret that I started last week (link here), and yesterday morning I got to do that.  Yesterday morning, the painting already looked so very close to being done  that my fellow artists asked me what I was going to do with the rest of 3 hours.  “Bask”, I replied.  But as it turned out, I had no extra time for basking.  I worked slowly and carefully and painstakingly to reach this conclusion:

Margaret and her Nook

Margaret and her Nook

The background needs cleaning up, especially around the head, where my habit of correcting the drawing by painting the negative space is revealed.  After working on this painting, I understand too well why my  slap-dash works had to be called “studies”.  Should I strive to become a more polished painter, or may I return to striving to become looser?  Can I do both?  Talk about being of two minds!  I am torn in two.

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 in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway;  at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; in the Community Gallery at the Currier Gallery in Manchester; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter;  at the Studio 550 Art Center in Manchester NH, as part of the annual 6×6 show of the Womens Caucus for Art; and at her studio by appointment (email: alotter@mac.com).

Mixing it Up

I don’t have any major project under construction (like the poster competition), but I am keeping busy with the paint.  Having lots of smaller projects of different kinds makes me happy.  In fact, it dawned on me quite recently that I don’t even know how to finish a big project–I seem to specialize in plein air paintings and portraits and nudes from 3-hour sessions–all of which are by some artists considered good only as studies for something bigger.  I’m taking a portrait drawing class with Deirdre Riley at the Institute, and we are working on one charcoal portrait for the last three weeks of 3-hour sessions.  Deirdre asked me last Friday if I wanted to start a new one or try to bring what I already had to a more polished conclusion.  I answered, polished conclusion, because that’s exactly what I don’t know how to do.  The demo by Stephen Assael drove that point  home.  Now there’s a man who knows how to bring a painting to a polished finish!  Every molecule of paint must be in the right spot before he is satisfied.

Next week, I hope to be proudly displaying a charcoal portrait finished to the nth degree of development.  Unfortunately, the usual quickies are all I have to show for this week. I will start with the most polished, which you have seen before, because it deserves a second look without all those annoying light reflections.  This is my third attempt at getting a good photo of it, and I think third time was the charm.

Profile in Red Shirt--Grace

Profile in Red Sweater–Grace

Red Sweater is from the Cameron Bennett workshop, the last one, the interior one.  I’m really liking how the red sweater came out–such a simple thing compared to facial features or even the head wrap, but at least I got it right.

Next is a pair of 6x6s; yes, it’s already time to start on the 6x6s.  Our (Womens Caucus for Art) 6×6 show was held in February, but that show was a postponed version of the November exhibit.  So now we have one again in November and time is running short.

Garden in Prescott Park

Garden in Prescott Park

The Garden is painted from a photo that I took last week at the Prescott Park Arts Festival.  There was no vantage point from which to paint this scene, but I can remember, with the help of my photo, the light that made it so enchanting.

Day One

Day One

The line of children is from a fairly old photograph taken of a granddaughter entering first grade, on that first day.  It caught my fancy one day and I decided it was worth at least a 6×6 format.  I might try to do more with the faces.  I kind of gave up, maybe too soon.  I’m proud of the gestures.

Overlooked in previous weeks–no, not overlooked because I consciously set it aside, let’s say postponed–is another portrait of Fletch.  It may not capture his likeness as well as some others of mine, but I wasn’t focussing on likeness.  I was fresh from the Steve Assael workshop, and my attack on this painting very much reflects the Assael influence.

Fletch under the Assael Influence

Fletch under the Assael Influence

Last, and least (as far as size is concerned) is this portrayal of four little piglets taking a nap at Phoenix Farm when I visited it with Sharon Allen a few months ago.  I was charmed by how they lined up, alternating heads and tails.  These adorable little piggies are probably big porkers by now, being readied for someone’s dinner table.  No Charlotte to save them.

Four little piggies napping

Four little piggies napping

Piggies was painted on a tiny 2-inch by 2-inch canvas.  The painting is destined to be a favor for one guest at a charity event called the Storybook Ball.  East Colony has volunteered to decorate a table for the event, and we chose as our theme the storybook “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White.  (It was my idea.)  Each guest at our table will take away an original 2×2 painting, but that’s only a small piece of the project.  Our table is going to be spectacular rendition of barn and web and spider and all the other characters from the book.  The charity benefiting from all this activity is “CHAD”, or Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth.

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 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;  and at her studio by appointment.  Two paintings hang in the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter and a poster reproduction hangs in the Currier Museum of Art, also in Manchester.  Reception September 5, 5 to 6 (blessedly short) with the Congresswoman and the artists.

Inadvertently omitted from the above line-up in weeks past was the painting I shipped down to the East End Art Gallery in Riverhead, Long Island.  And coming up in September is the Boston Arboretum exhibit, which chose one of my paintings for its annual Jamaica Plain Open Studio exhibit, which you would know all about if you were one of my Facebook friends.

Welcome, Groundhogs*

Skin Colors

Skin Colors

Yesterday’s quasi portrait is my pick of this week.  It could be improved, for sure.  But overall I am pleased–with the gesture, the drawing, the colors, the modeling.  I wanted to leave the background unpainted,  to show off the fact that I made no changes in the outside contour of the figure.  But now I do need to make some changes, so I will try to match the color of the paper I was painting on to eliminate that dark edge atop her left arm, and to carve away at the neck and jaw on her left side.  I would also like to point that I snuck in a tiny glimmer of teeth showing between her open lips.  Even more so than hands and feet, teeth are the painter’s nemesis.

This brown card stock, which I have been using a lot lately, is called “carton board” and is made by Judson’s (Guerrilla Painter).  It looks like stiffened brown Kraft paper but is  sized to accept oil paints without absorbing them.  It does kind of absorb the Gamsol, but dries out quickly.  It leaves a spot.  You can see a spot near her left jaw, where I was trying to carve away at it without deploying paint.

Other things I want to change about this piece: the eyes–too heavy with the dark line, I think; the transitions between colors in skin tones–too abrupt in certain places;  the hair:  too restrained–she has quite a mop, and showing that would add interest to the painting.

In my stories about the Circle of Six (or Seven), I showed you several examples of what my colleagues were doing with the same poses, but somehow I missed capturing this one by Steve:

Steve's Best

Steve’s Best

Steven thinks this is his best drawing of Becky.  For the blog that showed more takes on this pose, go here.

I have heart-warming news in abundance today.  One of my little 6×6 paintings was selected by one of the sponsors for the Notecard project of the Women’s Caucus for Art.  OK, that requires an awful lot of explanation.  The WCA pulls together an annual exhibit to showcase members’ 6×6 pieces, which are sold for $66.  Artists purchase the 6×6 blank panels  from WCA and the money we raise from these sales of blank panels to artists goes into the scholarship fund.  (We award a $1,000 each year to a NH woman attending art school in NH.)  The sale of the finished panels generates revenue for the artists and the gallery, not the WCA.  So this year, for the first time, our beloved leader (Suzanne Whittaker) developed the Notecard Project:  ten sponsors donate a largish sum of money in exchange for the credit that goes with the publication of sets of ten note cards, each set containing reproductions of all  ten 6x6s chosen by  sponsors for such honor, to be sold throughout the year in various retail locations.  The money raised from the sales of the notecards goes to the scholarship fund.  The money raised from the sponsorships pays for the printing of the notecards, and a little bit goes back to the artists chosen to be in the notecard pack.

That takes so long to explain because there are so many interlocking elements.  I was intending to show you my oown 6×6’s eventually, but had so much content on other subjects that I never got around to it.  Here they are:

A Walk in the Woods, 1

A Walk in the Woods, 1

A Walk in the Woods, 2

A Walk in the Woods, 2

A View of the Bay

A View of the Bay

A View of the Forest

A View of the Forest

Barrington Editions, a business that creates giclee reproductions of artists’ paintings, is the sponsor who chose one of mine for the notecards.  They chose the one I call A Walk in the Woods 1.  To create these pieces, I cut up old watercolors to the correct size and mounted them onto the 6×6 panels.  I enhanced them with black and brown ink,  then I covered them with an acrylic gel, which protects the watercolor paper and adds a nice shine.  Inspired by the shine, I decided to construct wires simulating windows.  This turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined, and I became worried that the wires were too fussy, especially for the first two, which seemed to stand well on their own.  So in the end, I added the window wires only to the last two above, then forgot to photograph them in their little cages.

Other big news, which cannot wait:  Nude Nite Tampa invited BOTH of my pieces.  These two.


Artists and Model

Artists and Model

I’m not quite ready to part with Artists and Models, but now I have to.  Am wondering if it will be any cheaper to ship two smaller pieces than the one large one that went down to Orlando last week, at a cost of $122.  (I do hope it sells, but in case it doesn’t, the trip back home is already paid for.)

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 her law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.

In February, you can also view (and purchase–of course!) some of my paintings and drawings at the McGowan Gallery in Concord, NH, (“Love, Lust and Desire” is the theme) and my 6×6’s at the Artstream Gallery in Rochester, NH.

If you happen to be near Orlando, Florida on February 14, 15 or 16, or Tampa, Florida on March 7, 8, and 9, you could (and should) catch Nude Nite, happening with music and other entertainment at these locations, respectively: 639 W. Church St. (blue freestanding warehouse just East of I-4) in Orlando; and 3606 E. 4th Ave., in Tampa.  Hours are 6 pm to midnight.  (Nude NITE, after all)

*I really have nothing to say to groundhogs, but am so grateful that Phil has ordained an early spring for us that I just had to call out.

The Week of “Super Storm”

Haven’t  you heard enough about Sandy already?  New Hampshire is one of the suffering states, but I got off pretty easy.  Looks like I’m going to have to pay for a new roof without help from the insurance company.  Being unscathed myself, I insisted on  holding the Tuesday life group.  It was, after all, a pretty nice day, weather-wise, a little rainy but hardly any wind to speak of.  But most of the other artists were dealing with one storm-related problem or another and couldn’t get here for the group.  So it was just the model, another unscathed artist, and me.

We set up in the window side of the studio and had our model lounge on the familiar old brown leather sofa.  We found ourselves looking down on him, which felt strange at first.  The model stand that we usually use puts the model at my eye level or above.  (I sit to paint.)  We also forewent any supplemental lighting inasmuch as the sun was streaming right in at our backs (yes, SUN).  No dramatic shadows to fall back on for creating interest.  But as it turned out, I didn’t need any drama from lighting.  I accepted a full-on frontal foreshortened pose with the model’s feet practically in my face.  (Of course that’s an exaggeration–I did say “practically”.)  I was super pleased with this development because it furnishes a response to a taunt from  one of my colleagues who, upon viewing last week’s blog, complained that I was not giving enough attention to feet.  Since he is also one of our models, I suspect it is HIS feet he want more attention paid to.  Nevertheless, feet are feet:

The Feet Have It

I have to point out that it is not often that you get to depict the wrinkles on the sole of a foot.  Having recently watched a documentary on Lucien Freud, I also felt as if I were channeling him every so slightly, as I tried to paint the effect of hairy legs.

On Friday, four of us  met with Peter Clive for a quasi-workshop session.  Peter had during the summer been attending our Tuesday group whenever he could, but currently his teaching schedule at the NH Institute of Art kept him there on Tuesdays.  So he offered to come instead on Fridays and critique work in progress, when corrections are possible.  In the course of the summer and now the fall, Peter has seen quite a few of my paintings.  He compliments me by saying something like “That’s a nice study,”  or even “That’s a great study.”  He said that about The Feet.  Noting his use of the word “study”, I had reconciled myself to the reality that a serious artist does not go around producing a finished painting in three hours (actually less when you consider setting up time and break times).  The fact that I consider these paintings as complete if not completely wonderful just shows how far I am from being a serious artist.  There is a whole level of professionalism up there that I can only imagine.

However, the work that I did Friday was, at the end of the three hours, pronouced a “painting” by Peter, “not just a good study”.  Yes, he actually said those words.

An Actual Painting

He liked the composition, which I admit, I  had worked out early in the process. before paying much attention to the figure.  So that was unusual.  Perhaps because of that, a certain painterly quality emerged for the whole painting.  But when I got home, I noticed that the right leg was too short, both as measured against her left leg and as measured against her torso.  So I “fixed” it.  I tried to duplicate  the original foot before I covered it up, but the new foot  (FEET again!) doesn’t look right.   I may have botched this painting by correcting one errant part of it that may not have mattered in the big scheme of things.    All is not lost, however–the same model is returning in two weeks for the same pose, and I will get another crack at that foot.  I am also hoping to paint a larger version from the same pose.

Totem, 11×14, $300

Lotus Studies 13×13 $265

High and Dry, 11×14, $300

A plug for the Soo Rye Art Gallery opening on November 10, reception from 5 to 8 p.m.  The address is 11 Sagamore Road, Rye, NH.  All the artworks being exhibited are priced no higher than $300.  I contributed “Totem”, “Lotus Studies”, and “High and Dry”, three of my all-time favorite paintings.  If you can’t get to the opening, the show  continues through the end of December, but I expect that a lot of the art will be sold at the opening.

Here is some history for these three paintings:

Totem was accepted in a regional show juried by Don Stone for the Rockport Art Association (Massachusetts, not Maine).  I painted Totem on the coast of Rhode Island, near Narragransett, with my artist friend, Mary Crawford Reining.  The totem, actually more accurately called a cairn, in the painting really did exist exactly as I painted it.  Other cairns had been built by person or persons unknown, but this one was the most adventurous.  It was more than a cairn–so I titled it Totem.  Earlier in that morning, I had painted another, more complex view of this rocky beach, and had an hour left over.  Only much later did I  realize until later what a successful painting Totem was.

Lotus Studies won Best in Show at a Manchester Artists Association exhibit, about a year ago when the MAA had a gallery of its own, but I created it at least a year before that for the Women’s Caucus for Art annual 6×6 show.    That had been my first year in the WCA, hence my first 6×6 show.  I had easy inspiration from photographs taken at the lotus pond in Wickford, Rhode Island, again visiting Mary.  The next year we tried plein air painting at the pond, but my output was worthless.

High and Dry has no  distinction to report, but it deserves an award, in my humble opinion, for oozing the most charm.  I have Mary Crawford Reining to thank again, for High and Dry:  this time I was a visiting her Marco Island home for perhaps the third year in a row.  None of my Florida paintings had amounted to much until this one, and I still consider it the Prize of my Florida collection.  Funny thing is, Mary had had her eye on this boat for a long time, wanting to paint it but never having got around to it.  So I swoop in and steal her subject as it were, and make it one of my best from Florida.

Only in the writing of these descriptions did I notice the huge debt I owe Mary Crawford Reining for guiding me to these three inspiring subjects.

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 the Soo Rye Art Gallery in Rye NH; at the law offices at 41 Brook St in Manchester; and at her studio by appointment.   Also, if you want to plan ahead, on December 1-2, a two-day show  of unframed works at Adrienne’s studio on the 4th floor of  Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH; the artwork will be priced no higher than $150!  At least six artists are participating in this sale.

A 6×6 painting for $66

6 inches by 6 inches has recently become a popular size for two-dimensional art pieces because they are affordable and are highly collectible. But for the past ten years, every year, the New Hampshire chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art has been organizing a member exhibit consisting only of 6×6 plaques prepared specifically for that purpose, and for that year. The price for each plaque is $66. Every media imaginable is represented. The plaques can even be used to create 3-D artworks as long as they can still be hung vertically.

My Lotus Studies series of four were created for the WCA event in 2009, and when none of them were sold, I combined them into this piece:

Lotus Studies

As this unit, Lotus Studies has been exhibited three times–once at the 2010 WCA “Flowers Interpreted” exhibit (another annual event), then at the Gallery at 100 Market Street in Portsmouth, and finally this spring at the Manchester Artists Association Gallery, where it won the Best in Show award. Though much admired in all these locations, it is unaccountably still available for purchase.

For this year’s 6×6 exhibit, I have decided to feature critters. I led off my blog (up above) with a half-finished study of that most endearing of critters, a sleeping cat. I’m going to call it “At Home”. Ironically, my model is Sundance, a rough, tough rescued cat who ultimately chose to rough it in the neighborhood. He relies on other suckers in the neighborhood to feed him regularly and suns himself on my deck occasionally. So although he looks really “at home” in this painting, he is dreaming anarchy (on my bed, by the way).

I have two other of my critter plaques started:

I need help with the Snowy Egret. There is a lot of empty space on the left of the plaque, which I intend to fill with written words. Poetic words. I am not a reader of poetry, so I don’t have any useful couplets filed away in my brain, but maybe one of my readers does.

This one I propose to title “Red Breasted Plover”. There is of course no such thing as a red breasted plover (this one is, I think, a black breasted plover in winter plumage). The red breast here is a reflection of the red canopy. Is that obvious enough to explain the title? Or will people think “red breasted plover” is a real species?

If you have been with me for a while, you might remember the Egret and the Plover from my trip to Florida in 2010, the year I deployed the zoom lens to such good effect. If not, you can see them here. Nineteen months later I finally got around to painting these birds!

The WCA 6×6 exhibit this tenth anniversary year will include the 6×6’s from prior years, so I guess my lotuses get out and about for the fifth time. The place of the exhibit will be in Nashua, and the length of the exhibit will be only 2, perhaps 3, days in November. A short, almost “pop up” type exhibit may generate more concentrated interest, and exhibit spaces that we couldn’t consider for a month-long exhibit become feasible. I will post more information about the exhibit when the date draws near.

Since this year we are including past works (retrospective), I will probably offer two that I recently painted on 2010 plaques, covering up what I did last year. (I hated what I painted on last year’s plaques so I didn’t submit them to the exhibit. Lack of inspiration results in worthless artwork.) You may remember these recent portraits from a previous blog entry:

A Blond Akita A Snaggle-tooth Cat
For more about the cat, search “Grace”. I adopted her last year.

I was going to post some pictures of drawings from our Saturday Life Group, but I think this is enough for now. Next week I am sure to have lots to talk about, because I will be attending a workshop with Stan Moeller, the guy who opened up the door to landscape painting for me back in the Fall of 2005. The subject of this workshop is near and dear to my heart:–how to paint people into your plein air landscapes. I have been practicing that very thing in anticipation of this workshop, and now I will learn the real scoop. . . . fingers crossed, that there is a real scoop to be had!