Sunday, March 7, 2010

An early spring day

Another March Posting!

A tower at the huge, and now defunct, Amoskeag Mills in Manchester, New Hampshire. Built in 1850 and once the world’s largest cotton mill, it’s now being nicely redeveloped and filled with other tenants. The sign said that this part of the place will soon become a Hilton Hotel.

These town houses or row houses are called, in Manchester parlance, corporations. The Mill built housing in this mid-1800's planned community for its employees and their families from Quebec, Scotland, Greece, Sweden, Poland, and many other places. Eventually, the mill industries moved to the southern states when water power was no longer the sole source of power.

I walked through Manchester up to the Currier Museum of Art. In the courtyard is this sculpture by Mark Di Suvero, entitled “Origins.” The black central part rotates in a slight breeze. I tried to draw it as it turned. I liked it.

The Currier Museum has many treasures. I drew this mural by Sol Le Witt, located in their café. It is called “Wall Drawing #1255, Whirls and Twirls.” This is only my interpretation of it, but the colors and shapes are accurate. You would recognize it if you saw it.

Main Street, New London, New Hampshire. In the background, buildings on the campus of Colby-Sawyer College. In the foreground, a row of very old and weather-scarred sugar maple trees, being tapped for spring sap. A sharp, hollow spike is driven into the bark; then the sap drips into the buckets. The mildly sweet sap is collected, and boiled down into maple syrup. The little peaked roof just keeps out the rain.

The modern method of collecting the sap. The sap from throughout the woods drips into the blue plastic tubing and accumulates in the white container. Sap season (or sugaring) is when the nights are still cold, but the days are warming. It doesn't harm the tree. I could sees the bubbles in the tube, and hear a steady stream of liquid going into the tub. I was practically hallucinating thinking of pancakes or waffles swimming in syrup. It is a health food you know, being full of minerals. You see the well known New England stone wall. That's a whole other topic.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New Hampshire and Maryland

Another search for color in mid-winter. Our table with primrose plant, multicolor pepper, and tabasco sauce. That is not a real cat sitting on the table, but a miniature clay sculpture. I love cats, but not on the table.

The red barns look even more colorful in the winter. We pass this barn every day. I chose to draw it this day because of the snow pattern on the roof. You can see the mountain and the frozen lake in the distance.

I am fascinated by the variety of architecture in this area of New Hampshire. This brick and granite building, Pillsbury Memorial Hall, was constructed in the village of Sutton Mills in 1891. The interior is lined with beautiful charcoal portraits of village elders, all in place since 1891. It is used as local government offices and community space. Note the small scale of the surrounding buildings in comparison. Yes, its name comes from the family that started the flour company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally from New Hampshire, they have been generous contributors throughout this area.

Sutton is a spread out town, just south of New London. This building is a general store in North Sutton. Notice the community bulletin board to the right of the door. The signs say “Live Bait, Pizza, Kimchee.” General stores, a relic from the horse and carriage era, sell everything imaginable.

The Opera House in nearby Newport, New Hampshire. Another grand edifice, this one built in 1886. We have attended plays and concerts here. There were about ten such Opera Houses built throughout the state at this time for the edification and enjoyment of the mill employees. Our goal is to visit all of them.

This Opera House is in the town of Claremont, west of New London near the Vermont border. The statue in front is from 1869 and commemorates local men who fought in the Civil War.