Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Hampshire

Traveling puppeteer Lindsay Bezich came to our little town beach at the Elkins end of Pleasant Lake. She retells folk tales through funny voices, wild antics, and very cleverly designed large puppets. She adds her own twists and subtle messages about courage and learning how to be happy good kids.

It’s windy at that end of the lake, and the front four children are wrapped in one large beach towel. It was a funny sight.

This time it’s only one child wrapped in a towel. Lindsay’s tiger specializes in rhyming, which is why his super hero cape is emblazoned with an R. The kids loved all the silly rhyming games and songs.

 We just love how this huge puppet clings to her neck and waist and turns his attention to the audience. Her left hand gives life to the tiger’s head.

Our community of about seventy homes was begun 50 years ago. Last week we had a large and lovely party for ourselves at the edge of the beach and lake. Mount Kearsarge looks on and approves.

Readers of a certain age will remember the singer Kate Smith and her late afternoon show in the early years of television. Her theme song When The Moon Comes Over The Mountain is based on this very view, written by visiting composers Howard Johnson and Harry M. Woods observing the scene from the inn located just behind us here. Kate Smith sang this song on the radio and TV for thirty years.

We sang it at the party. Unfortunately the lunar cycle didn’t align with the date of the party, and there was no moon emerging over the mountain at the conclusion of our song. That would have been special!

I have been planning on drawing this building for a year, the Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton, New Hampshire. Eaton is just south of Conway, a couple of miles from Maine. 

The shrubbery is left uncolored intentionally. The colors of the wooden clapboarded building, wooden shutters, and three red doors is perfect.

I love red brick buildings. This one is the Henniker Community Center, New Hampshire. The sign says it was originally a Baptist Church in 1834.

It’s the main intersection of Henniker, New Hampshire. I have been wanting to draw this wooden pharmacy/general store building for a long time. Probably since I was a teenager spending my summers in nearby Bradford. I stood in the road to draw this on a hot day with no moving traffic. Or moving air.

The roof line is called mansard, very fashionably French.

A lupine blossom was a demonstration sketch for the summer drawing class I’m teaching at Adventures in Learning at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH.

I happily spent a few minutes on a grey day drawing colorful food at the Pleasant Lake Cheesecake Company, Newport Road, New London, NH. With color notes and a clear memory, I added the color at home.

Everything in the shop is a gorgeous sculpture. The red paper surrounds a cupcake sized creation.

Monday, July 6, 2015

New Hampshire and Wisconsin

The Portsmouth Athenaeum (a library, gallery, and museum) has a gorgeous door. Designed by architect Bradbury Johnson in 1817, it was the entrance to the New Hampshire Fire And Marine Insurance Company. Which went bankrupt. 

The building gazes out over Market Square.

A sunny spring day enticed me to wander around Portsmouth, New Hampshire. On Chestnut Street I came upon the African Burying Ground. The site is a walk-through park between Court and State Streets.

Over two hundred coffins of slaves were discovered while the city workers were repairing the road or the drains. Portsmouth archeologists filled in the story of the lost burial ground.

 The thoughtful and beautiful sculptures moved me by their story. The main sculpture has two figures, a slave and Mother Africa. I sketched a few minor components of the large installation.

The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a 906 seat theater built in 1878 and still very much in operation. Its fascinating history is all online. In 2003, the Music Hall was named an American Treasure and underwent four years of extensive restoration.

Manual typewriters, all in working condition, now line the window at the RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They are all for sale.

I love this sort of drawing: theme and variation. The black one looks like a Model T. The low, sleek, colored ones are Italian sports cars.

Nearby Sunapee Harbor, New Hampshire, is small and picturesque. I draw it several times a year.

The summer market in New London, New Hampshire is back. We are there every Wednesday 3-6 PM. Here was our view last week. The mountain in the distance is Mount Sunapee.

Last week we went again to hear traveling folklorist Jeff Warner sing, and play his many musical instruments. And quite a few history lessons were thrown in too. His website is www.jeffwarner.com, and you can see Jeff and his little stick man, sometimes called a Limberjack, in action at this link on Youtube. The video was shot during one of his regular appearances in England and Scotland, both of which share a strong musical heritage with rural eastern United States. 

We fit in a quick trip to Wisconsin for a mini family reunion. Rain has been plentiful this spring, and my sister’s egg-shaped prairie garden was lush and colorful in the gloaming. The plants are native to the prairies of the state.

Alibi, a Wisconsin tortoise shell cat, was sleeping atop a chair in a sort of gravity defying position.