Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Hampshire, California, Maine, and Wisconsin

The town of Hill, New Hampshire was once called New Chester, changed to Hill in 1837 and named for Isaac Hill, a governor of the state. In 1941, the village settlement was moved to higher ground because the Franklin Falls Dam was under construction.

 I drove all through the back hill roads of Hill before I found this little church, built in 1800. The doorway appealed to me, next to the shrubbery with matching pointed shapes.

Madbury, New Hampshire is 12 miles square but shaped like a wedge. The narrow end of the wedge ends at Cedar Point on Little Bay. Madbury’s original village settlement was called Barbadoes (really spelled that way), after the town’s West Indies trading partner. Lumber was shipped to the Caribbean island in return for molasses, a key ingredient in rum.

 As I was drawing, I could see volunteers setting up voting booths in this building, the  Madbury Town Hall. The 2012 Presidential election was approaching.

The first settlers to Barnstead, New Hampshire came from Barnstable, Massachusetts and Hampstead, New York in 1767, and they cleverly combined the two names. This post office building faces the town green, called The Parade. Town militia practiced their formations there.

The land was good for agriculture, and the local farmers were part of the sheep boom of the early 1800s. In 1830, it is said that 2,500 sheep roamed the hills and fields here. After the boom busted, many of the fields were abandoned. The forests which were laboriously cleared by the settlers filled back in again with mixed woodlands.

 My artist’s eye appreciated this view from Route 16, looking east. The fence makes a foreground, the flat fields and meadows make the middle ground, and the blue mountains make lovely layers in the background. The curve in the road leads your eyes into the picture frame. 

Dummer, named for a governor of Massachusetts, was granted in 1773, but it was not settled until 1812. The first settler with his family was William Leighton from Farmington. The Upper Ammonoosuc River provided power for sawmills.

Now for some more drawings I did in April while in Downtown Los Angeles visiting family. 

 Bridal and formal wear shops abound in this part of DTLA. Here we are on Broadway at Third Street. These shops also cater to the local Spanish speaking population, immigrants from Central America. La Quinceañera is a day marking a girl’s fifteenth birthday in Hispanic cultures. A church service and a big party and a big dress are traditional.  Christening robes for infants, and first communion clothing are also sold in these shops.  It is an excellent place to buy hats too, at the price of four for ten dollars.

 The  view out of the window of our daughter and son-in-law’s apartment in Downtown Los Angeles is all urban with blue sky. The small building with the colorful mosaic tiled roof is the Central Library Goodhue Building, built in 1926. The architect Bertram Goodhue combined styles of both ancient Egypt and Mediterranean Revival. The interior decoration is equally impressive.  We took a tour. 

The green foliage is a roof top garden two blocks away.  

The memorial to Astronaut Ellison Onizuka, the Japanese-American astronaut killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986, is a 1/10 scale model of the space shuttle.  The 27 foot high replica commands attention in its pedestrian passageway in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles. In the distance, City Hall repeats the shape of the rocket.

We ate a delicious Japanese meal at an outdoor café in the Tokyo Plaza in Little Tokyo. This striated boulder was facing our table. Small shrubs surrounded it and around that, two semi-circular benches.

 I enjoy patterns, probably because repetition makes a small detail more obvious, and more of a visual treat. So I happily drew in the umbrellas shading the tables (but left out the tables) and then set about capturing the dozens of delicate lanterns of red and white paper.

   The use of red and white together symbolizes a happy occasion. And these days, a green paper lantern at the door of a restaurant may mean careful use of locally sourced ingredients.

After lunch, we visited the nearby Japanese American National Museum.  Most of the exhibits depicted the shameful World War II internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans (62% were American citizens) in camps in California and Nevada and five other states.  President Roosevelt gave out the order in 1942. It wasn’t till the time of Presidents Carter, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush (1980s) that the United States acknowledged its error, apologized, and paid reparations.

We took a three day trip to Maine last month.  I drew the view from our table at the Buffleheads Restaurant in Biddeford.  A bufflehead is a kind of sea going duck with a big round head.  This is the open ocean looking directly across to France, a mere 3,200 or so miles away.

Quite unknowingly, we got to the restaurant on Twofer Tuesday. Two meals for the price of one. We soon realized why the parking lot was so full.

 The farmland west of the capital city of Madison, Wisconsin is bucolically scenic. The area is described geologically as ‘driftless’.  Which means the glaciers never arrived here (at least the last time around), and hence didn’t deposit any drift.  Drift is rocks, pebbles, boulders, clay, sand, and gravel. The hills are rolling and some roads winding. The rich soil sits on yellow limestone layers.

The crops are corn and sorghum. Usually one can see 5 or 6 silos and barns and farm buildings all from one view point. I drew this vista from our moving car. I was not driving.

I enjoyed the sunny weather at an outdoor event in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.  The table arrangements were blowing gracefully in the stiff wind coming right off of the prairies.

And here is another drawing sneakily accomplished in an airport.  I just liked her red shoes, green shirt and Snow White sticker on her Apple laptop. She did not see me. The young woman then sat next to me on the airplane and I could have shown her the drawing, but chose not to.

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