The Shakers founded this location in 1792, and it is one of my favorite places topaint. You can see the meeting house right from the road. Except for the occasional car passing by, it was the perfect place to paint, with water running downhill and the birds singing in the background. On another day I faced the sweeping rows of lavender and the sweet fragrance invoked memories of my grandmother.
One of the best parts of the painting experience is to travel with other artists to different venues. As a member of the NH Plein Air Artists, I journey with fellow painters to new and beautiful outdoor locations. At the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, MA, our goal as a group was to paint all four of the seasons. I completed three. Painting outside sometimes requires you to return on another day in order to finish your work. Imagine my disappointment to find that a beautiful tree with a wonderfully interesting shape, scars and grand color, was no longer there upon my return.
The White Mountains of NH are an especially great place to wander and paint. I’ve been invited to paint in many places over time, including the gardens of an inn, on the grounds of a hilltop home, and in a cemetery as a fundraiser for the reconstruction of a chapel. There have been interesting places off the beaten path, and others where sightseers stop for a rest, a picnic, and a peek at my painting. Once I’m on location, I spend a good deal of time searching for just the right spot to set up my easel, knowing that my work will reflect how much I like my view. Each time I take the brush to the canvas, a brand new perspective is brought to life. Many of these painting experiences have been shared with fellow NH Plein Air Artists.
While painting at the water’s edge at a workshop on Monhegan Island, ME, I could feel the rush of the salt water around me, reminding me of a lifetime spent around the ocean. I grew up with the Long Island Sound right in my backyard, the ocean always within sight. As the great granddaughter of an English sea captain, I can remember my grandmother’s stories of how she waited for her father to return home from being at sea. Whether it’s the roll of the waves, the smell of the sea, or memories that ebb and flow, I can always feel the ocean around me.
As I’ve made my way through my adventures in painting there are many paths I’ve taken along the way, and all of them have led to somewhere interesting.
I started down an exciting new pathway when I joined the Plein Air Arts Group in Florida. There, a fellow artist encouraged me to submit three paintings for jury to enter the Bradenton Paint Out. What a fantastic experience this was! I challenged myself in new ways and met so many wonderful fellow painters during that time.
Always on the lookout for a scenic view, I’ve traveled many different paths in search of the ideal location to set up my easel. I’ve made my way down narrow rocky trails that led me to the breezy ocean to paint seascapes, or sometimes down quiet lanes to find the perfect landscape location. There are even paths of light and shadows. These can move about in a studio, shifting across the floors and walls where a still life comes alive. Or light can make its way across the beautiful draping of Spanish Moss, changing its appearance as the light moves through it.