Sunday, July 2, 2023

From the Hills to the Mills

So, we did it. We moved. We downsized from a biggish house in the woods of New London, New Hampshire, to an apartment near the seacoast of New Hampshire. It takes about twenty minutes to get to the sea from our new home in Newmarket. But the Lamprey River is just outside the door. Our renovated warehouse from 1840 sits aside the old canal system that allowed the mills to make cotton and silk from 1823 to 1923. 

Part I

From spring of 2021 to Fall of 2022, my primary art project was this book. As our local summer stock theater expanded to become a year round performance and education space, I followed the building process with pencil drawings and watercolors. It took 113 pages to tell the story of the construction of the Fleming Center for Artistic Development on Main Street, New London, New Hampshire. Included drawings also illustrate the updating of the offices, costume shop, scene shop, the courtyard, and the new porch.

Almost every day, I drove by the site and stopped to sketch the machinery.

I caught this moment when an important conversation was happening after the old porch was torn off of the Barn Theater. Plans needed to be adjusted sometimes.

The basic framework of the two story Fleming Center was nearly in place by this date. 

The town administrators chose one of my paintings to grace the cover of the annual Town Report. They expressed a deep understanding of the role the Barn plays in the spirit of the community.

Part II

This series was made on a digital app during February and March of this year, 2023, as we made preparations to move. This process included finding an apartment with an elevator, laundry, and two bedrooms, located in walkable terrain. 

The images below are all 'remembered landscapes' of travels in many parts of the world. The winding roads were added at the end of the design process. They symbolize life's journey with twists, turns, and new vistas.

Part III

The next images were made in April, May and June as we settled into our new living area.

First a view out of our living room window overlooking the Lamprey River and the old brick and granite mills along side the dam.

The variety of wildlife fascinates us every day. At the base of the dam sit a whole row of hungry cormorants awaiting the chance to catch a fish for breakfast.

My first short car ride to the coast was on a grey and stormy day. The image is a memory of the spray as the water crashes against the rocks.

I drew on site on my iPad for this view of the tannic river water hitting the rocks at the base of the dam. I was standing on a bridge over the falls.

A cormorant swims in the mill pond in the moonlight. The black bird has a very distinctive shape.

I have spent quite a bit of time gazing out at the mill pond. Sometimes there are little whirlpools.

Our town is very near Great Bay, an estuary near the mouth of the Piscataqua River at Portsmouth, New Hampshire's only coastal city.  This is the Squamscott River. Early in the spring, the plants in the brackish tidal waters were red like this.

The granite mill tower fills the sky if we look downstream. This is an acrylic painting on a board. I am just beginning to sort out what architectural images I will draw or paint in the near future.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Close to Home, and A Road Trip

Hello, It has been quite a few months since I made a post here on the blog. Some people have been asking about this. Thank you for that. I have been busy with art projects and will try to get you caught up soon. Below are two of my recent projects and a peek at a third, still in progress.

Last summer I roamed around our little town and drew and painted doorways, buildings, and natural wonders, all the way from A to Z. Then with the technical assistance of my husband and the design skills of our daughter, it became this book. 

This is my fifth book. I write them to appeal to all ages, including children. We have already received reports of a young girl searching around town (with her mother), trying to locate each of the scenes that I drew.

And now for something completely different. It is a series of digital sketches based on road trips taken in New Hampshire in 2021.

 There's a lot of snow to be seen, although not always white. Blue, pink, purple are the colors I use for shadows in the snow.

And in this view of Mount Kearsarge, the afternoon sun is making the mountain look like spun gold.

I always get a little jolt of happiness when I see this road sign. It means we are about 45 minutes from the coast and the beautiful city of Portsmouth. It is New Hampshire's only city on the Atlantic coast, because the coastline in the state is only 18 miles long. It is nestled between Massachusetts and Maine.

Early morning colors on a very snowy day.

Heading north on Route 89 in New Hampshire, you can see the hills of Vermont.

One of a series of trips to nowhere that we took in 2021. A short drive north on Route 89, then a turn around and back home. 

One of my favorite parts of Route 89 has ice cliffs at the side of the road. Water flows off a hill in the day, then freezes at night. 

S curves are fun to drive on and to draw. The green trees are evergreens, which is some of the only tree color in the winter.

Split highways lanes are nice to draw too. The yellow is a little area of dormant grass. The snow has melted in the sun.

My appreciation of the designers who laid out Route 89 back in the 1960s is pretty apparent. Running northwest from the state capital of Concord, into Vermont, and continuing to the Canadian border, it was very nicely meshed into the wonderful scenery along the way. 

Market Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
I have always loved the study of doors and windows.


Now to the Department of What's Happening Now!

An ongoing project of the past year is documenting a building project in New London. The New London Barn Playhouse is expanding to become a year round arts center. Here is an early view of the construction in one of my sketchbooks. Stay tuned! A book will surely arise from this project.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Light in the Dark Season

Apologies if you have been getting multiple notices of this new blog post. Google apparently had a massive outage, and we've been trying alternative means. Once they get things fixed you might get a bit of accumulated mail that's been piling up there.


I've chosen a dozen images that have the theme of winter light, or colors. They have been made over the last five years or so. The digital art app I use is designed for children. That is why I enjoy it so. It is like having a brand new box of crayons. And, unlike crayons, there is an 'undo' arrow. It is magical and intensely fun to be able to make the colors either translucent or opaque or anywhere in between. For example, yellow can go on top of black. Yes, I still use watercolors, pen, pencil, acrylic paints when I choose. 

I love how the winter sun appears to burn a hole through the bare trees. We have snow on the east side of our steep hill in our high elevation town. 

And going back through some older artwork, look! I have depicted this same scene from the same chair gazing out into our woods. On this occasion I added the copper colored leaves on the beech trees. And some snow flakes.

And again, in the past, I drew the scene all in greys.

Again a winter sun low in the sky, but looking over towards the ridge. 

The ridge again, with the last rays of the sun coloring the hillside all golden. This looking east. And pink clouds too.

One more golden ridge view. I often run outside during this time as I love the warm light in the cold months. This time, I skipped over drawing the trees and just drew the land.

And now, we are going to travel from our home in the woods of New Hampshire to our other home. Which is a condo in the city of Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, Canada. Here, I drew the dazzling morning sun as it reflects off of another building and back right into our condo. Into the small space between the shade and the window sill. 

A lot of the buildings in our neighborhood in Edmonton are grey and brown. In the cold months my eye is always searching for color. These condos are near the grandchildren's school, so I had passed them many times.  The primary colors are so appealing. Our condo building looks very similar to the one in the middle. I can spot the construction projects by this particular builder all over. They are colorful.

I held my iPad in the crook of my arm as I drew on the screen with my left index finger. 

This is the view from our condo. The sunsets are splendid nearly every night. I merely indicated the rooflines of the nearby houses in shadow. They are close together and sort of blend in at this time of day. 

Another sunset view. This time from a nearby coffee shop. 

In our neighborhood in the southwest of the city are both individual homes and apartment buildings. This is a fantasy version of one of them, a doodle. It has many windows looking west to catch the sunset views.
One large window is reflecting a brilliant setting sun.

The last drawing is under the lights of the outdoor rink behind our family's house. 

This is the view from their kitchen window.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Close to home and far away

We live in three acres of woods accessed by a long dirt driveway. It was 6:30 PM in mid-August, New Hampshire. The sunlight through the trees struck me as beautiful.  So I took some rapid photos with my iPad.  The forest floor is covered with ferns in this area.

And another one, with my view shifted just to the right in darker shade.

And another with the glare of the sun more obscured.

 Walking farther down the dirt driveway, I see the low sunlight skimming the surface of the road and landing on the short grass at the edge. The bright light makes a floating shape that blocks out the details of the crushed gravel.

Sunlight on short wild grasses.

Our driveway. Looking uphill.

One more ribbon of light in the forest clearing before I return home.

And for contrast, our trip in 2019 to the far away Galapagos Islands. More than 3000 miles from New Hampshire. We flew from Boston to Miami, then to mainland Ecuador, then another flight to the islands. Our Los Angeles based daughter and her husband joined us for the wonderful adventure.

In the photo above, the top image is a two page sketch and watercolor painting that I did in February 2019. Just under it is the same sketch, but now it forms the front and back covers of my latest book. (Available online.)

The book is a replica of my sketchbook which I started and finished during our trip. With a few added sentences underneath the art to complete the story.

And, a video of every page of the book. Come travel with me.