I promised a few weeks ago to share with you the several little plein air paintings I did while traveling New Hampshire last month. I’ve fallen behind with that. The truth is I’ve had a hard time turning my thoughts back to New England when my heart is breaking in Texas… It feels in a way disrespectful to all who are suffering such staggering hardship to focus my attention on something as “light” as Art.
But as my aunt said to me in the midst of the financial and housing crisis of 2008, “these may be the times when people need art the most.” I do know that in dealing with my own hardships — admittedly nothing as traumatizing and life-altering as the people of the Gulf Coast are dealing with — that it was art that helped me more than anything work through my grief.
And so, I shall continue sharing my creations.
The morning of our first full day together at The Lake, I rose early and joined my aunt in the kitchen. As tea water heated, I sat across from her (at what has become maybe my favorite kitchen table anywhere) while we each shuffled our own deck of cards, and commenced with dueling games of Solitaire. After watching her win three games in a row (OK — I’ll fess up: she does NOT cheat, damnit) and me losing three games in a row (which would be the case even if I DID cheat!) I finally had enough and decided to go down to the dock to paint. For I’d noticed that a great distant cloud in the sky over the lake seemed undecided about whether it wanted to be the softest shade of gold or the softest shade of pink. Regardless of which color it settled on, I figured the intensity of the hue was only going to get better. So I grabbed my paints and mug of tea and descended down the steps to the water’s edge.
What really delighted me when I looked out on this scene was how the evergreen line of Stamp Act Island was dark, but the distant shore beyond it was illuminated with sunshine.
The main cloud which initially caught my eye just radiated its pink and gold confusion across the lake. The point that I ultimately captured was when the water just below the island was golden, while gentle waves near me were picking up hues of pink.
Just as I was finishing up my painting, my aunt came down from the house, “I just had to see what you were doing!” She then admitted, “when you first went down, to paint, I looked out to the water and thought ‘now what on earth is she going to paint? There’s nothing of interest going on out there….’ And then I watched as that cloud — and the water — turned pink and gold! I’ve never seen anything like it! I’m so glad you got it!”
I’m glad, too.
Much of the rest of that morning I spent on a long walk through pine forests, exploring the rail trail into the town of Wolfboro. Although I brought my paints with me, there wasn’t time for me to pull them out that during my walk, so instead I took a lot of photos, eventually turning to them back in New Mexico, as I did a couple weeks ago when I recreated this inviting shady scene from the trail, just below Wolfboro.
Later in the afternoon (post nap & swim, but before the late-afternoon jigsaw puzzling session lubricated with sherry) I returned to the lakeside, this time at the other of my aunt’s docks, to observe the late afternoon sun on my cousin’s boat. Boats and buoys are intimidating, as they have such perfect geometry, (as does the square dock in the mid-distance of this scene). I struggled for a bit trying to get the boat and buoy the correct brightness (I kept making them too dark), but eventually got them at least pretty close.
What I would have given to ship this boat off to Texas last week…..
Links to Dawn Chandler’s posts about her New Hampshire plein air painting trip below
Thank you for reading