This website is one way that I share my artistic creations and angst regarding my processes. The name I go by now is Aline H (for Holstein) Lotter, but I sign my artworks with my first name only. Aline. My grandmother was reading Scaramouch when she was pregnant with my mom, my mom became the first “Aline” in the family and I am the third. The Holstein was my maiden name, which I did not particularly like (although it rhymed with “Aline” which was nice), due to its association with cows. I was too ignorant to appreciate being associated with such fine cows with their iconic and varied black and white patterns. So when I got married, I happily accepted the surname Lotter. Lotter was a name given to the husband’s ancestors when they emigrated to the United States. Husband and I were subsequently divorced, but Lotter was by then the name on all of my law diplomas and certificates and awards, so I kept the name. In 2013 I retired from the practice of law, making me now a different person who really ought to change that last name. So far, too lazy or busy — but I might get around to it someday, Hence, paintings get signed “Aline”.
Since 1982, I have lived in Manchester, New Hampshire. In 2005 I took up painting. I always claimed that I would get back to painting when I retired, but due to stock market setbacks, retirement had to be postponed. So for eight years, I tried to both practice law and paint. That did not work so well. My principal focus was drawn to all things related to my art. Practicing law without the passion to practice law became increasingly arduous, so I had to choose. And I chose Art.
I started in 2005 by signing up for 2 courses at the NH Institute of Art: Oil Painting the Landscape in Impressionist Style and Painting using Renaissance Methods. The next semester, I took Landscapes again, and Life Drawing (drawing from a nude model–something I had done when a senior at Cornell). I was lucky, so lucky to have Stan Moeller (Impressionist Landscapes), Peter Dixon (Renaissance and color theory too), and Larry Christian (Life Drawing) as my first teachers.
At Cornell, I was a Government major, but in my senior year, in addition to two Life Drawing classes, I took an oil painting class that concentrated on still life. At the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Art, an oil painting class worked on trompe l’oeil still lifes, one portrait, and one floral arrangement.
Before taking Stan’s class, I had never done a landscape before. I fell hard for landscapes. It wasn’t long before Stan introduced me to the practice of painting landscapes outdoors, from nature instead of from a photograph. “En plein air” is the French term that is used to denote landscape paintings created and mostly completed while on the scene. Most of my landscapes are now en plein air.
You might expect that studio paintings would be more polished because the artist has unlimited time to work on them, whereas the outdoor paintings are subject to light shifts and weather conditions and, usually, time limits. But that does not always hold true–many of my studio landscapes were painted as quickly and loosely as their plein air cousins. My own preference is for the quick, loose way of painting, but once in a while I cannot resist a complicated subject involving, say, multiple buildings. There is also a limit on the size of a painting that can be completed en plein air in one sitting. My limit appears to be a 16×20 in three hours. You wouldn’t want to stay out longer than that anyway because conditions (sunlight in particular) change. Luckily, I am a fast painter.
Most of my other artworks found on this web site are drawings or paintings from a live model, using charcoal , pencil, and in the case of paintings, oil paints. In life drawing sessions, the models are usually unclothed. I do love to do portraits and figures. Cats and dogs are also favorite subjects–those have to be from photographs.
One subject matter has not been well represented among my current works of art: the “still life.” Upon mulling over the term “still life”, I have wondered whether it should mean that the artist painted from an actual collection of real objects. Breathing artist, nonbreathing objects? Then again, I know artists who paint from photographs of the collection. One reason for this must be the mutability of flowers and fruit. So perhaps originally, still life meant living things such as flowers and fruit. Except that they painted dead things like fish and other protein items being readied for dinner. And the Dutch like to include rotting fruit and living insects.
That oil painting course I took at Cornell so many decades ago assigned a single project: paint an arrangement of bottles and bowls, all of which had been colored a uniform tan color. We were allowed to make up our own colors. I doubt that a representation of artificially tan objects even qualifies as a genuine still life. Anyway, when I returned to painting in 2005, I discovered landscape painting, and never looked back. . . until I discovered the rewards of painting from living figures. In 2015, I came upon the joy of painting flowers–using artificial flowers sold by the crafts store. No wilting. What an Excellent Thing, I thought. I went out and bought myself over $100 worth of artificial blooms only to discover that painting a still-life setup was incompatible with another love in my life: CATS. This problem I have not yet solved. The cats, I live with five of them), will not keep their paws off my setup.